Assessing people with dementia: the role of the aged care assessment team and memory clinics

Michael Rozsa, Andrew Ford, Leon Flicker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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© 2016 Royal Australasian College of PhysiciansBackground: A cross-sectional survey of all patients reviewed by the aged care assessment team (ACAT) service and memory clinics between 1 January and 31 December 2012. The ACAT catchment included an estimated 14 325 people over the age of 70. Aims: To determine the numbers and outcomes of assessments for cognitive problems by the ACAT and hospital memory clinics for patients within a single ACAT catchment area. Methods: Data collected included patient demographics, diagnoses, referral and pharmacological treatment. Flow of referrals to the services that diagnose and manage dementia, and the number of incident dementia cases diagnosed in 2012 were determined. Results: The ACAT service assessed 1005 patients from the catchment, of which 241 patients already had a diagnosis of dementia. When compared with the estimated dementia prevalence in Australia, 19% of prevalent dementia cases (n = 1260) within the catchment were reviewed by the ACAT. The two memory clinics saw a combined 186 new referrals (91 and 95 respectively) from within the catchment, with a total of 82 patients (22 and 60 respectively) receiving a new diagnosis of dementia. Using Australian estimates of dementia incidence, this would suggest 29% of 286 incident cases were managed through these memory clinics. Conclusions: Geriatric services are responsible for the assessment and management of a large proportion of the estimated number of patients with dementia in this catchment area. Further resourcing and standardisation of the pathways to dementia assessment is required in Australia in order to diagnose and manage effectively people with dementia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1081-1088
Number of pages8
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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