First-ever Dementia Clinical Guidelines - potential to transform dementia care in Australia


The CDPC, Activity 13 and Guideline Adaptation Committee are excited to announce the first Australian guidelines on dementia were launched last week by the Minister for Health, The Hon Sussan Ley, MP at the Alzheimer’s Australia National Consumer Summit at Parliament House.

Alzheimer’s Australia National President Professor Graeme Samuel AC opened the launch with an acknowledgement of the important contribution consumers played in the development of the guidelines and that this involvement ensured the document is relevant to the needs of people with dementia and their carers.

He also recognised the critical role the CDPC and its researchers played in their development.

“These guidelines are an example of the impact that can be achieved when consumers partner with clinicians and researchers,” he said.

The Health Minister, The Hon Sussan Ley acknowledged that dementia is a National Health Priority and these guidelines will help reduce unwarranted variations in care.

“The guidelines have been developed specifically for Australia and are designed for use by health care professionals working with people living with dementia,” The Hon Sussan Ley, MP said.

“Clinical guidelines have been shown to improve health outcomes and care, and that is what we are expecting these guidelines to deliver for people living with dementia and their carers.”

We also had the privilege to hear from consumers, John Quinn and Glenys Petrie, about the importance of these guidelines and specifically about which recommendations they saw as key for people with dementia and how there is potential for future work.

Mr John Quinn, who is living with dementia said, “these guidelines will help people better understand the specific needs that we as people living with dementia are faced with every day.”

Professor Susan Kurrle reiterated the importance of these guidelines, “clinicians and consumers have been looking forward to the release of the guidelines as they will provide much needed guidance and information on a wide range of issues associated with dementia.”

She also highlighted the vital contribution of Dr Kate Laver and Dr Suzanne Dyer from Activity 13 in the research and development of these guidelines.

There are 109 recommendations in the guidelines which have the potential to transform dementia care in Australia and include.

  • Person-centred individualized care responding to the needs and preferences of people with dementia and their carers.
    Timely diagnosis, meaning that early signs of dementia such as memory loss are not dismissed as normal ageing and should be investigated.
  • Living well with dementia, which highlights the importance of good nutrition, enjoyable exercise, staying involved with work or other mental activity, and remaining as independent as possible.
  • Appropriate training of staff working with people with dementia, which has been shown to reduce symptoms such as agitation, reduce the use of physical restraints, and improve quality of care.

The clinical practice guidelines and principles of care for people with dementia