Post-diagnostic support and rehabilitation for people living with dementia

Presenter: Professor Lee-Fay Low, University of Sydney

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About the presentation

Increasing timely diagnosis of dementia means that treatments and services for mild dementia need to be available post-diagnosis. There is growing evidence for the benefits of non-pharmacological rehabilitative treatments including cognitive therapies, occupational therapy and exercise. However, these interventions are often unavailable and require people with dementia and carers to straddle state health, primary care and federal aged care services.

Survey and interview or focus group data from two Australian studies relating to post-diagnostic support will be presented, these are Forward with Dementia and Dementia Together. The majority of people with dementia and carers did not receive sufficient information, a care plan or treatments and services after diagnosis. Some diagnostic services were limited in their capacity to provide ongoing follow-up after diagnosis. Many general practitioners found the time-pressures and non-medical aspects of ongoing dementia management difficult. There were differing expectations and attitudes around the need for and purpose of post-diagnostic supports (e.g. delay decline or enhance quality of life).

An Australian dementia diagnosis and post-diagnostic support pathway developed using modified Delphi processes will be presented, with particular emphasis on gaps and recommendations for implementation.

About the presenter

Lee-Fay Low (BSc Psych (Hons), PhD) is Professor in Ageing and Health, University of Sydney. She is a registered psychologist with a PhD in psychiatric epidemiology. Professor Low conducts research that she hopes will make a difference in the world.

Her main areas of expertise are in rehabilitation and post-diagnostic support for people with dementia, home and residential care for older people, the impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia, stigma and dementia literacy, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She is particularly interested in developing and evaluating interventions to improve the quality of life of older people. She has methodological skills in population studies, systematic reviews, clustered randomised trials, instrument development and evaluation, and translation of research into practice.

She has authored over 130 peer-reviewed articles, and three books on dementia. She is an active advocate in improving how older people are treated and cared for. Lee-Fay thinks that research is great fun, and even admits to liking statistics.

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Further information: [email protected]

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