Evaluation of a multicomponent post-diagnostic support program for people living with dementia and their carers
The availability and accessibility of post-diagnostic support for people living with dementia and carers is of central importance in dementia care. People with dementia and their carers require access to timely education, emotional and practical support, lifestyle advice, and meaningful activities, to maximise their quality of life and to potentially delay cognitive decline. Allied health professionals at Canberra Health Services at the University of Canberra Rehabilitation Hospital and the University of Canberra have designed an evidence-based 12-week multicomponent program, tailored to people with dementia and carers, which includes physical activity, social engagement, nutrition assessment, education, and capacity building. The team engaged with Dementia Australia advocates to refine the program and set priorities for research. The research project will assess the value of the multicomponent dementia support program, perform a pilot study to measure impact and effectiveness, and explore barriers to access to post-diagnostic dementia support services for people with dementia and carers. The project has the potential to become part of standard care in the ACT region, and to set an example for dementia care services Australia-wide.
Nathan D’Cunha is an Assistant Professor at the University of Canberra (UC) with a research focus on non-pharmacological interventions for people with dementia and carers.