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Dementia Pathways Tool

The Dementia Pathways Tool is a publically-accessible resource providing primary health care professionals with access to a web-based repository containing information, tools and resources to guide and enhance current assessment, referral and management practices for patients with dementia.
 

Dementia Pathways Tool

Dementia Pathways Tool

 

Background

Dementia is one of the fastest growing diseases in Australia, with prevalence rates expected to rise steadily over coming years. At the forefront of dementia care is the primary health care workforce (general practitioners; practice nurses) who are providing essential support across the disease continuum, from early diagnosis to ongoing management. However, this disease is complex and often places significant demand on primary health care workers. 

An initiative in the Grampians region sougth to address some of these challenges with the development of the intuitive, online Dementia Pathways Tool. Launched in 2013, the Dementia Pathways Tool offers a comprehensive yet intuitive web-based repository of dementia-related information, tools, service directories and resources which is publically available. This enables community access to information about dementia that may be of relevance, including family and carer support, financial and legal issues, driving capabilities and powers of attorney.

The technical and online components of the Dementia Pathways Tool were designed by CeRDI, in close collaboration with project partners the Department of Health (Grampians region) and Grampians Medicare Local. The content for the Dementia Pathways Tool was undertaken by Ms Carolyn Gargiulo, Grampians Region Department of Health and Human Services, as the lead organisation, in collaboration with Associate Professor Mark Yates consultant physician in geriatric medicine, from the Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service (CDAMS), Ballarat Health Services, and Deakin University.

The Tool was originally guided in its development by the Dementia Pathways Working group comprising representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services (Grampians) and Grampians Medicare Local.

In 2015, CeRDI collaborated with South East Melbourne Medicare Local to prepare a version of the Dementia Pathways Tool for its region. Advisory groups from the South Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local, including the Aged Care Advisory Group, contributed to the development of the South Eastern Melbourne Dementia Pathways Tool.

The Dementia Pathways Tool was further enhanced following a comprehensive review in 2018. This has led to a range of updates, and the inclusion of additional content and resources.

Outcomes

Research, led jointly by CeRDI and project partners has confirmed positive feedback from general practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses in the Grampians region.

A central online portal has been established to enable access to Dementia Pathways Tools.

A short video with Associate Professor Mark Yates has also been developed to introduce Dementia Pathways Tool to GPs and practice nurses.

Technical Features

Key features of the Dementia Pathways Tool include a split-screen with toggle menu for navigation. Access to relevant information occurs via eight key menu options:

  • Awareness and recognition of significant symptoms;
  • GP assessment and management;
  • Practice nurse – assessment and care planning;
  • Medicolegal issues;
  • Medication;
  • Ongoing management and care;
  • Palliative and end-of-life care;
  • Family support.

Menu items (located on the left of the split screen) are accessed through a pathways ‘tree’ with branches to secondary menu items. Navigating the site is facilitated by the pathway with menu items providing a logical guide.

The Tool includes a comprehensive keyword search with expandable information layers offering a greater number of searchable options to source and retrieve content.  The website is complemented by an interactive pathways map; a support tool and service directory with referral pathways.

Other features of the website include links to resources and websites; assessment tools for GPs; and an extensive resource pages (Source: Ollerenshaw, 2015).

Future Directions

Updates are currently planned which offer practitioners and the community additional information and resources via the Dementia Pathways Tool.

  • Research output icon

    RESEARCH OUTPUT

    Ollerenshaw, A. (2015). Online pathways for dementia care. Australian Family Physician, 44 (7), 510-513.  Australian Family Physician | Online pathways for dementia care

    Ollerenshaw, A., Wong Shee, A., Yates, M. Towards good dementia care: An Online Dementia Pathways Tool for rural and regional primary health practitioners. The Australian Journal of Rural Health, 26(2), 112-118. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12376

  • Our partners icon

    PARTNERS

    Department of Health and Human Services Victoria

    Project funder and lead agency working in collaboration with Medicare Local Grampians and Associate Professor Mark Yates to develop the pathways tool.

    Department of Health and Human Services Victoria
    Western Victoria Primary Health Network

    Current project partner, hosting the Dementia Pathways Tool in Western Victoria.

    Western Victoria Primary Health Network
    Grampians Medicare Local

    Project partner contributing broadly to the development of the pathways tool for the Grampians region. 

    Associate Prof Mark Yates, Deakin University and Ballarat Health Services

    Project collaborator, providing support and advice pertaining to the development, and subsequent promotion of the Dementia Pathways Tool, and facilitating access to content and publications.

    South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network

    Current project partner, hosting the Dementia Pathways Tool for South Eastern Melbourne.

    South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network
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