A body of work to upskill GPs on dementia is gathering pace, with a new online course that aims to make it easier for GPs and Primary Health Care Nurses to recognise, diagnose and manage dementia.

The Dementia Training Australia (DTA) course, Recognising, Diagnosing and Managing Dementia in General Practice, includes the most up-to-date advice on dementia in the General Practice setting.

Throughout the course, General Practitioners, a neuroscientist, a psychiatric geriatrician, nursing professionals and carers all share their knowledge, experience and insights.

Tasmanian-based GP and medical educator Marita Long helped develop the course, which is based on a face-to-face workshop developed by the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre and delivered across Australia.

Dr Long highlights the difficult and complex job that GPs have in recognising, diagnosing and managing dementia, and the need for guidance and a structured approach.

“As GPs we need to know so much. We need to have a good working knowledge of 187 conditions,” Dr Long said.

“Through these workshops and online learning, we are able to provide guidance, and give GPs a structured approach to recognising, diagnosing and managing dementia.

“This is ‘tip of the iceberg’ stuff but at least it gives GPs a start, so they know how to get help, and how to explain dementia to patients appropriately.”

DTA offers more online training for GPs through The Timely Diagnosis and Improved Management of Dementia in Primary Care, a Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) accredited course on the assessment and investigation of a person who presents with cognitive impairment, hosted at thinkgp.com.au.

Both these courses are part of a larger body of work led by the DTA teams at Wicking and La Trobe University. DTA Director Margaret Winbolt says much of this work is done through collaboration with external GP organisations: the places where GPs go for their education.

“DTA works with a group of enthusiastic GPs, including Dr Long, to develop GP-relevant content and link into their extensive networks,” Dr Winbolt said.

These collaborations have led to these activities:

  • A partnership with General Practice Supervisors Australia (GPSA) to develop GP Supervisors’ teaching plans. The Diagnosing Dementia and Understanding Dementia teaching plans are used by GP supervisors to teach trainee GPs (Registrars) to better understand and diagnose dementia. They are available at gpsupervisorsaustralia.org.au
  • TheIdentifying Patients with Dementiaonline short course, developed by DTA and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and available to RACGP members at racgp.org.au.

The online course Recognising, Diagnosing and Managing Dementia in General Practice is available via the DTA website dta.com.au.

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