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Face Dementia’s General Practice Improvement Program

General practices have a key role in identifying, diagnosing and providing post-diagnostic care for people with dementia

We know timely diagnosis, regardless of age or disease progression, allows for the person to get the treatment and support they need. It also allows the person, and their family, to adjust, plan, and make lifestyle changes now that can slow the progression of dementia and significantly improve their quality of life.

Australian General Practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses have a key role in identifying, diagnosing and providing post-diagnostic care for people with dementia. Unfortunately, GPs face significant challenges when identifying and diagnosing dementia. Recent research conducted with GPs and practice nurses, as part of the Face Dementia project, identified five key barriers that contribute to delayed or missed dementia diagnoses.

  • Underreporting and stigma experienced by patients and their families
  • Limited screening tools
  • Time constraints of GPs
  • Lack of training
  • Communication challenges as discussing dementia can be emotionally challenging for both healthcare professionals and patients.

To reduce these barriers and to increase diagnosis of dementia, Face Dementia, in conjunction with Dementia Training Australia, is running a practice improvement program in Western Sydney and Western Victoria. Face Dementia is also running a public awareness campaign in Western Sydney in English and Chinese to reduce dementia stigma and encourage people with concerns to ask their GP.

The education program is open to GPs and practice nurses in Western Sydney and Western Victoria and includes:

  • 3 – 4.5 hours of live zoom training for GPs and Practice Nurses​ on Demystifying Dementia:
    • Session 1: Diagnosing Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia ​
    • Session 2: Supporting people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia ​
    • Session 3: Facing Dementia in practice – practical tips for tricky issues​
  • RACGP CPD hours ​

Resources are available for all Australian general practices (for GPs, practice nurses and reception staff) including printable resources and a series of videos on identification and management of dementia.

The practice improvement program was developed in collaboration with GPs, practice nurses, geriatricians Western Victoria Primary Health Network and Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WentWest PHN), and people with dementia and carers.

General Practice Educator, Dr Stephanie Daly, said:

People are hesitant to see their GP for concerns around cognition in case this means they have dementia. But finding out sooner actually enables support to be offered and means people have the opportunity to live well with dementia.”

Changes in a person’s ability, behaviour, personality, thinking or memory could be dementia and that’s why people with concerns should ask a GP for an assessment.”

GP’s can perform an annual health assessment after the age of 75, which offers an assessment of cognition within it. This can act as a baseline assessment or as an opportunity to discuss brain health and monitor for any changes,” she said.

For more information, visit The Face Dementia Practice Improvement Program or email