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New GP Guidelines for Dementia

October 22, 2019 0 Comments

New guidelines have been developed by the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) and other partners for Australian GPs to assist in reducing dementia rates nationally. 

New GP Guidelines for Dementia

Dementia Rates in Australia

New GP Guidelines


Dementia Rates in Australia

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ new report on causes of death, Dementia remains the second leading cause of death in Australia.

As we previously highlighted, there are currently more than 400,000 people in Australia suffering from dementia and around 110,000 new diagnoses each year. Among all, 55% of those are women. 

Leading causes of death in Australia

Source: HealthDirect

Dementia statistics from HealthDirect last year pointed out that:

  • Almost 1 in 10 people over 65 have dementia.
  • Dementia for Australians over the age of 65 is the single greatest cause of disability, the third leading cause of disabilities overall.
  • Dementia comes second as the leading cause of death in Australia and leads the cause of death among Australian women.
  • On average, the signs and symptoms of dementia can  be noticed up to three years before a firm diagnosis is made.
  • By the year 2058, it is possible over a million Australians will have dementia. 

Findings from a recent global survey by Alzheimer’s Disease International, showed that there is a significant lack of knowledge around dementia. From the total 70,000 respondents across 155 countries the below key findings seem alarming: 

  • Almost 80% of people are concerned about developing dementia in their lifetime and 1 in 4 people worry there is nothing that can be done to prevent it
  • 35% of carers said they have hidden the diagnosis of dementia of a family member
  • Over 50% of carers have experienced various degrees of their own health suffering as a result of their caring responsibilities, even those who generally were positive and passionate about their role 
  • Nearly 62% of healthcare providers seem to think that dementia is a normal part of ageing
  • Around 40% of the general public have the impression that there are plenty of doctors and nurses ignore people with dementia 

The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention previously found that by making straightforward GP-recommended changes some dementia cases could be prevented. They suggested that 35% of all dementia cases, could be attributed to 9 modifiable risk factors. Important risk factors to note throughout Early, Mid and Later stages in life are Hypertension, Hearing Loss, Depression, Physical Inactivity and Low Social Contact. Other risk factors may also include Education, Obesity, Diabetes and Smoking habits. 

General Practitioners in Australia are strongly encouraged to consider these findings when consulting patients that may fall into the categories of these risk factors. 

Aged care doctor with a patient relaxing


New GP Guidelines

New guidelines have been issued for Australian GPs in the battle to help reduce dementia rates nationally

The guidelines have been developed by the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) with a combination of 10 years of research compiled into simple and practical instructions for doctors. 

The risk factors covered by the guidelines include:

  • diet
  • alcohol consumption
  • physical activity
  • smoking
  • social engagement
  • sleep
  • obesity
  • medical conditions.

Read more on these new guidelines for GPs in the link above. 

GPs can play a significant role in dementia risk reduction. They can consult patients with multiple risk factors and apply these new recommendations. GPs can also provide the earliest possible care to patients for a stronger chance of managing dementia and assist in educating patients on their risks. 

The guidelines are seen as a resource based on updated evidence, GPs in Australia can be assured that they are providing the most current support possible. 

GPs and nurses can also use these guidelines along with their knowledge of a patient’s lifestyle and other medical conditions, to provide targeted advice to those patients who can be more responsible for their own cognitive health. Even small changes over time can lead to positive changes. 

Smiling nurse and happy elderly lady, horizontal

The release of these guidelines came just after Dementia Action Week this year (16–22 September) and the  Government announced new funding to improve dementia care including: 

  • $4 million to trial new technology with projects aimed at community support and managing medicines for people living with dementia.
  • $5 million to trial new ways of determining pain in people living with dementia. 
  • $31 million over three years to fund the National Dementia Support Program which provides services, education and resources to people living with dementia. 


What are your thoughts on these new guidelines and what GPs can do to help? We would love to hear from you. 

Please contact one of our friendly team of consultants Today and let us tell you what GP jobs are available around Australia.

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