Healthcare workers upskill on dementia in region

Ballarat Health Services' geriatrician Mark Yates co-authored the Dementia Pathways Tool to improve care for people with dementia in the healthcare system. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric
Ballarat Health Services' geriatrician Mark Yates co-authored the Dementia Pathways Tool to improve care for people with dementia in the healthcare system. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

BALLARAT dementia experts will take the lead in work to up-skill general practitioners and nurses in dementia care across the state’s west.

A projected 35,000 people with be living with dementia in western Victoria by 2050 with about two to three patients in each primary care consultation likely to have dementia, according to Ballarat Health Services’ geriatrician Mark Yates.

Associate Professor Yates, who has 20 years clinical experience, says it is vital for healthcare workers to understand complexities of the disease and how to access information to assist care planning, family support and diagnosis. 

He will lead the sessions with Ballarat Community Health practice nurse Caroline Gibson and BHS neurologist Ramesh Sahathevan in Warrnambool, Hamilton, Colac, Horsham, Ararat, Daylesford, Ballarat and Geelong from next week.

“Dementia is an important condition to identify and include in regular care, especially for those with other chronic diseases like diabetes and heart failure,” said Ms Gibson, who is completing a PhD on the role of the practice nurse in dementia care.

Ms Gibson also co-authored the Dementia Pathways Tool with Associate Professor Yates to improve care and awareness among healthcare workers for people living with dementia.

Dr Sahathevan is a principal research fellow with the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, consultant neurologist at Ballarat Health Services and a faculty member of the Lundbeck International Neuroscience Foundation.

The workshops are supported by the Western Victoria Primary Health Network and the Lundbeck Neurosciences Foundation.

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