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Title: Characterising Australian memory clinics: current practice and service needs informing national service guidelines.
Austin Authors: Naismith, Sharon L;Michaelian, Johannes C;Low, Lee-Fay;Arsenova, Valerie;Mehrani, Inga;Fyfe, Katrina;Kochan, Nicole A;Kurrle, Susan E;Rowe, Christopher C ;Sachdev, Perminder S
Affiliation: School of Psychology, Charles Perkins Centre and the Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia..
Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia..
Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia..
School of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia..
Molecular Imaging and Therapy
Neuropsychiatric Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Australia..
Healthy Brain Ageing Program, Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney, 94 Mallett Street, Camperdown, NSW, 2050, Australia..
Issue Date: 14-Jul-2022
Date: 2022
Publication information: BMC Geriatrics 2022; 22(1): 578
Abstract: Memory clinics (MCs) play a key role in accurate and timely diagnoses and treatment of dementia and mild cognitive impairment. However, within Australia, there are little data available on current practices in MCs, which hinder international comparisons for best practice, harmonisation efforts and national coordination. Here, we aimed to characterise current service profiles of Australian MCs. The 'Australian Dementia Network Survey of Expert Opinion on Best Practice and the Current Clinical Landscape' was conducted between August-September 2020 as part of a larger-scale Delphi process deployed to develop national MC guidelines. In this study, we report on the subset of questions pertaining to current practice including wait-times and post-diagnostic care. Responses were received from 100 health professionals representing 60 separate clinics (45 public, 11 private, and 4 university/research clinics). The majority of participants were from clinics in metropolitan areas (79%) and in general were from high socioeconomic areas. While wait-times varied, only 28.3% of clinics were able to offer an appointment within 1-2 weeks for urgent referrals, with significantly more private clinics (58.3%) compared to public clinics (19.5%) being able to do so. Wait-times were less than 8 weeks for 34.5% of non-urgent referrals. Only 20.0 and 30.9% of clinics provided cognitive interventions or post-diagnostic support respectively, with 7.3% offering home-based reablement programs, and only 12.7% offering access to group-based education. Metropolitan clinics utilised neuropsychological assessments for a broader range of cases and were more likely to offer clinical trials and access to research opportunities. In comparison to similar countries with comprehensive government-funded public healthcare systems (i.e., United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada), wait-times for Australian MCs are long, and post-diagnostic support or evidence-based strategies targeting cognition are not common practice. The timely and important results of this study highlight a need for Australian MCs to adopt a more holistic service of multidisciplinary assessment and post-diagnostic support, as well as the need for the number of Australian MCs to be increased to match the rising number of dementia cases.
DOI: 10.1186/s12877-022-03253-7
ORCID: 0000-0003-3910-2453
Journal: BMC geriatrics
PubMed URL: 35836238
PubMed URL:
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Best practice
Care plan development
Care plan implementation
Case conference
Current clinical practice
Memory clinics (MCs)
Post-diagnostic care
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