Clinical Guidelines

Review international dementia guideline and synthesise to develop national Australian guideline

Craig Whitehead

Lead Investigators: Associate Professor Craig Whitehead and Professor Maria Crotty

This activity has developed an up-to-date, evidence-based guideline on dementia, to be synthesised and disseminated throughout Australia. Until now, Australia did not have a set of NHMRC endorsed guidelines for dementia management which limited attempts to achieve improvements in care. Establishment of new national clinical guidelines will provide health professionals and carers in primary care, aged care and hospital settings with access to meaningful clinical guidelines reflecting current evidence on dementia care, enabling them to identify and respond to the condition more effectively.

The three-year project reviewed international dementia guidelines and considered the various state health service plans for dementia to establish new national clinical guidelines for dementia in Australia. An implementation plan for the guideline has also been developed, which considers the key practice areas: primary care and early diagnosis and the care of patients with dementia in acute hospitals. The new guideline has been endorsement by the NHMRC, and will be disseminated throughout Australia and specifically implemented in two states.

The full Guidelines and Recommendations document can be found on the CDPC Resources page

Development and implementation of a consensus guide on dementia in primary care

Dimity Pond

Lead Investigator: Professor Dimity Pond

GPs and consumers have expressed concern about the lack of knowledge about dementia in primary care, due to the lack of up-to-date guidelines. The purpose of this study is to update the Australian GP Guidelines.

The current guidelines were developed by consensus in 2003 and do not reflect the latest evidence. It is important to update this practical decision aid to include new evidence and developments in the field of dementia care and management. A dissemination strategy is also important, as many GPs are not aware of the existing guidelines.

This two-year project will review international GP dementia guidelines and current literature on related topics to identify gaps and shortcomings in the 2003 guidelines, which will be updated accordingly.

Following this update, a series of forums will be conducted with GPs, primary care nurses and consumers/carers (including the Alzheimer’s Australia DSBI) at six sites throughout Australia. These forums will obtain feedback on how to translate the guidelines into a simple and practicable flow sheet or decision aid.

The team will select six to 10 demonstration practices throughout Australia for a targeted dissemination, and then work with those practices on the implementation of the guidelines.

‘Agents of Change’: Creating National Quality Collaboratives to improve dementia care


‘Agents of Change’ is a new collaborative research project hosted by Flinders University, and funded by the NHMRC Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre and NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Initiative.

The project aims to improve the implementation of three key recommendations from the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Dementia in Australia:

  1. People living in the community should be offered occupational therapy (reflecting evidence based programs)
  2. People with dementia should be strongly encouraged to exercise
  3. Carers and family should have access to respite, and to programs to support and optimise their ability to provide care for the person with dementia

This will be achieved by establishing national quality collaboratives in which health professionals across Australia are trained and supported to develop and enact an implementation plan addressing one of the recommendations.