Referral options for diagnosis

Referral options for diagnosis

There are times when you may not wish to, nor feel confident, to make a diagnosis. These include when:

  • There is an inconclusive diagnosis
  • The patient is young (<65 years old) or atypical
  • Symptoms and signs are atypical
  • Psychotic or severe behavioural symptoms are present
  • Multiple, complex comorbidities exist
  • When considering anti-dementia medication for your patient(link to medication section)
  • You require a second opinion
  • For caregiver support

Important Note:

A diagnosis for dementia usually requires the involvement of a geriatrician or psychiatrist and often a neuropsychologist.

Although a general practitioner can diagnose dementia, the diagnosis from a geriatrician or psychiatrist is necessary for eligibility for subsidised Alzheimer's disease medications and other treatments for different forms of dementia.

Referral for Support:

Dementia Australia offers information, support and counselling for your patients. Contact your nearest office for referral information.

Because of the complex and individual nature of every dementia, referral to a medical specialist care is recommended. 

Option 1 - Refer directly to a private/public geriatrician, neurologist, psychogeriatrician or neuropsychologist

There are a range of medical specialists to whom you can refer your patient for thorough diagnostic testing.

Link to health pathways under clinical resources. Health Pathways is a web portal that provides easy access to concise, condition-specific assessment and management information at the point of care. It provides referral information to ensure patients can be connected with the most appropriate local services and specialists.

Option 2- Refer to a Specialist Diagnostic Service/Memory Assessment Service ('Clinic') in your state or territory

In Australia, there are specialist diagnostic services available that aim to assist people experiencing changes in their cognition.

These clinics aim to provide information and advice on treatment, management and referral to other services as appropriate.

They provide a comprehensive diagnostic service, but are usually targeted at difficult diagnoses.

Referrals to the memory clinic can be made through general practitioners, community agencies or by self-referral directly.

Contact Dementia Australia for the contact details of your local memory service/clinic.