Dementia needs widespread support

Dementia is likely to affect your loved ones

Dementia is a fast growing public health issue and our community is crying out for better access to appropriate services and care. The APS, which is the peak body for psychologists says 50% of Australians with early stage dementia are not getting access to the treatment they need, and investment is needed to address the rapidly growing public health issue.

The APS called on Government to increase its focus on clients with dementia.

APS President Ros Knight said, “Our blueprint for psychological services within Medicare, the June 2019 APS White Paper, calls on Government to introduce a number of key changes to ensure clients are receiving the assessments and care they need.

“This includes the introduction of assessments to differentiate dementia from mental health disorders, which would go a long way to ensuring Australians with dementia are put on the right intervention pathway and can access and afford the services they need.”

Psychology alternative to the medical system dementia diagnosis

Early onset dementia needs urgent attention

Clinical Neuropsychologist Dr Amy Scholes, Chair of the APS College of Clinical Neuropsychologists said the introduction of a neurocognitive disorder/dementia assessment Medicare item, and a decision making/competency assessment item would improve diagnosis and care drastically.

“Under the current system, clients can only access cognitive screens provided by medical professionals who are covered by Medicare. Unfortunately these screening tools miss 50% of early dementia diagnoses, which is unacceptable.

“In contrast, thorough neuropsychological assessment can identify early stages of dementia with a 90% accuracy rate.

“The comprehensive assessment process conducted by a neuropsychologist enables consideration of neurological, medical and psychological possibilities, giving us a more detailed understanding of the individual client, thereby improving client-centred care.

“Thoroughly delineating each clients’ cognitive strengths and difficulties, as well as interacting psychological factors, is critical for providing correctly targeted interventions and care models that truly understand the individual’s specific needs, and minimise risk,” she said.

Dr Scholes said better assessment and treatment would have countless benefits for clients and their families, who are often distressed and vulnerable.

“Early, accurate diagnosis reduces client and family distress, provides timely access to appropriate care, and reduces the unnecessary hospital admissions or doctor visits that can happen when a client remains undiagnosed but symptomatic and/or worried.

“Clients and their families are desperate for earlier diagnosis because the distress of not knowing, misdiagnosis and delays in appropriate care are adding to their psychological burden and negatively impacting on the client’s outcomes.

Marriage Counselling facilitates communication about Couples’ options

My clients have obtained great support and hope from marriage counselling which helps each person communicate their wishes, needs and brainstorm options. This is a safe environment where nobody will admit your loved one to hospital or transition care en route to aged care facilities. You will find ways to increase support for the carer as well as the person needing care.

Ph 0417 997 016 to make an appointment to discuss your concerns in a safe environment 🙂

Alternative Living Situations for Couples

The wife of a person with early-onset diagnosis, is working to build a community for couples in similar situations. More information & contact details 😊

Adding purpose-built buildings to share mutual inter-generational support while remaining on your own property, see preliminary information.

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