Dementia Filter aids palliative care

HammondCare has contributed to the national release of a set of new resources that will help palliative care health professionals deliver evidence-based care for people with advanced dementia.

A HammondCare/Alzheimer’s Australia research project contributed a key clinical tool – The Dementia Filter - to the new resources which respond to the growing need of people facing end of life with dementia.CareSearch palliative care knowledge network developed the free online resources, announced today as part of National Palliative Care Week.

A tested and validated tool, The Dementia Filter improves clinician efficiency by providing a one-touch, quick and effective search of evidence-based dementia literature.

There are more than 169,000 people living in residential aged care in Australia, and 60 per cent of them have a diagnosis of dementia. Dementia has become the third leading cause of death in Australia.

Integrating palliative and dementia care

The Dementia Filter was developed as part of the Integrated Care Framework for Advanced Dementia (ICF-D) project, a HammondCare and Alzheimer's Australia project initiative.

The ICF-D project is led by Director of Palliative Care at Braeside Hospital, Associate Professor Meera Agar, and involves other staff including Dementia Centre Senior Consultant Meredith Gresham.

A/Prof Agar said HammondCare was well placed to assist with research and resources for dementia and palliative care – such as The Dementia Filter - as it was a leading service provider in both areas with a commitment to their integration.

Alzheimer’s Australia National Research Manager Dr Chris Hatherly said the new resource would go a long way towards getting important clinical evidence into the hands of people working at the coalface in palliative care.

“We know that people with dementia often miss out on palliative care services and end up dying in hospital, away from friends and family and often with untreated pain,” he said. “This resource will help to distil the mountain of clinical evidence and assist palliative care clinicians and care workers to access best-practice information to provide high quality end-of-life dementia care.”

CareSearch's suite of free online resources

As well as The Dementia Filter, other new resources announced by CareSearch for National Palliative Care Week include:

Clinical Evidence pages on dementia: a group of pages that summarise the state of the evidence in dementia, advising the key issues, limitations and contexts for practice; providing links to sources of clinical guidance and ways to find out more.

• Residential Aged Care (RAC) Hub dementia pages: As care needs change for a person with dementia, so does their need for information. This resource provides clear, easy-to-understand information on a special page for residents and families, and one for care workers too.

A spokesperson said CareSearch had developed the suite of free online resources to benefit health professionals and residential aged care staff, plus the patients, residents, and their families who are affected by dementia. The resources are now freely accessible for use through the CareSearch website, Australia’s free online palliative care knowledge network.

ICF-D continues to develop

Meanwhile, the ICF-D project is continuing with the national web-based resource in a trial phase, visible here. It is designed to provide guidance and training for palliative care health professionals for the increasing number of people facing end of life with advanced dementia.

After an initial research phase, it is now being developed into a national web-based resource for best practice palliative dementia care. A key deliverable of the project was the Dementia Filter – announced above. The ICF-D project was selected by people with dementia and their carers and funded through the Alzheimer’s Australia National Quality Dementia Care Initiative.

More news on National Palliative Care Week on our Health and Aged Care blog and at  www.palliativecare.org.au