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Better Journeys for People with Dementia in Northern Sydney

Project Title

Better Journeys for People with Dementia in Northern Sydney

Focus Area

Supporting providers to deliver care, and engaging older people and their carers through improving transparency and accessibility of available services.

Project Lead

Prof Sue Kurrle, Clinical Director, Rehabilitation and Aged Care, NSLHD.

Partners
  • Northern Sydney LHD
  • Sydney North Health Network
  • Community Care (Northern Beaches) Ltd
  • Alzheimer’s Australia NSW
Project Site

Northern Sydney Region (boundary of NSLHD).

Elevator Pitch

There are a range of services available in Northern Sydney for people with dementia and their carers, however information about these services and how to access them is not well understood by the people who need them or General Practitioners.

In Australia, three in ten people over the age of 85 and almost one in ten people over 65 have dementia. In Northern Sydney, there is projected growth of 23% in the population of people aged 75 years and older between 2011 and 2021, indicating a substantial increase in the number of people with dementia in the region over the next 6 years. In addition, there are approximately 24,700 people in Australia with Younger Onset Dementia (a diagnosis of dementia under the age of 65; including people as young as 30).

On average symptoms of dementia are noticed by families three years before a firm diagnosis is made. The journeys of many people with dementia and their carers include points of contact with the health system with an absence of helpful advice or information about services, and a series of points of stress, pain or crisis. People with dementia are relatively high users of acute hospitals. In Australia the mean LOS for all hospital separations is 8.6 days, compared with a mean of 19.6 days for any diagnosis of dementia and 30.1 days for separations with a principle diagnosis of dementia (Draper 20071).

This work will also include health promotion including brain health, building capacity in General Practice and working together to promote advanced care planning for the benefit of people with dementia and their carers in Northern Sydney.

It is expected that with access to this information people with dementia will have better plans in place to manage their care, more timely access to support, and there will be reduced unplanned admissions to hospital for people with dementia.

A partnership between Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD), Sydney North Health Network, Community Care (Northern Beaches) and Alzheimer’s Australia NSW will be developing a dementia pathway which will provide guidance around appropriate services, with information regarding how to access these in the region.

Contact Details

NAME:
Lyn Olivetti

ORGANISATION:
Northern Sydney Local Health District

PHONE:
0414 193237

EMAIL:
lyn.olivetti@health.nsw.gov.au

1 Draper et al (2007) Hospital Dementia Services Project: Dementia Services Provided in Public Hospitals, NSW, Australia, downloaded via AIHW website, contact Brian Draper; b.draper@unsw.edu.au.