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New dementia training targets doctors, practice nurses

GPs and practice nurses now have access to a tailored dementia care training program that aims to reduce stigma and help empower people with dementia, their families and carers.

Through the Dementia Care Training and Education Program – pioneered by General Practice Training Tasmania –  local doctors and practice nurses will be better equipped to recognise dementia symptoms and provide better support for those living with dementia and their loved ones, Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt said at its launch.

Wyatt said while general dementia literacy among health professionals is alarmingly low, the program has already been shown to bring about promising changes in health professionals’ clinical behaviour.

“This augurs well for the potential national rollout of this online resource, for example, through inclusion in the suite of materials hosted by Dementia Training Australia,” he said.

Allyson Warrington, chief executive of General Practice Training Tasmania, said the changes in health professionals' behaviour have resulted from improved awareness, knowledge and confidence in dementia care.

Warrington said these professionals can provide more certainty and assistance to people with dementia, families and carers in the early stages of the disease. "This is really important in rural and remote communities where there can be long waiting times for appointments with other specialists.”

Nursing Review spoke with Warrington to find out more about the training program and its early evaluation.

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