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Dementia care

The discipline has several research projects focused on dementia care which are funded through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership Centre: Dealing with Cognitive and Related Functional Decline in Older People.

Currently there are more than 353,800 Australians with dementia and this figure is expected to increase to almost 900,000 by 2050. More than 1.2 million Australians are involved in their care and the cost of dementia on the health and aged care systems in calculated to be at least $4.9 billion per annum.


Key projects

Clinical guidelines

Professor Maria Crotty, Associate Professor Craig Whitehead and Dr Kate Laver have led the development of the first national clinical guidelines (PDF 866KB) for people with dementia in Australia. These guidelines will provide health and aged care staff in community, residential care and hospital settings with access to recommendations reflecting current evidence on dementia care (PDF 120KB) to better respond to the needs and preferences of the person living with dementia.

Recent Publications:

An overview of systematic reviews of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for the treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia
Dyer S, Harrison S, Laver K, Whitehead C, Crotty M. (2017) International Psychgeriatrics pp 1-15 (published online 16 November 2017). 

Residential care for older people with cognitive decline

Models of residential care for older people with cognitive decline in Australia is a large project led by Professor Maria Crotty and her research team of Dr Suzanne DyerDr Emmanuel Gnanamanickam, Dr Stephanie Harrison, Dr Rachel Milte, and Dr Enwu Liu.

Examination of current residential aged care services will inform modelling and testing of possible future approaches to care of people with dementia and cognitive decline.

This will give aged care providers and health decision makers throughout Australia a measure of the cost of providing quality care to people with dementia, enabling them to plan aged care services and shape policy more effectively and efficiently.

Recent Publications:

Direct health and residential care costs of people living with dementia in Australian residential aged care
Gnanamanickam E, Dyer S, Milte R, Harrison S, Liu E, Easton T, Bradley C, Bilton R, Shulver W, Ratcliffe J, Whitehead C. (2018) International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry; 1-8.

Struggling to maintain individuality - describing the experience of food in institutional long-term care for people with cognitive impairment
Milte R, Shulver W, Killington M, Bradley C, Miller M, Crotty M. (2017) Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics; 72: 52-58

Where' the evidence? A systematic review of economic analyses of residential aged care infrastructure
Easton T, Milte R, Crotty M, Ratcliffe J. (2017) BMC Health Services; 17:226

An empirical comparison of the 5Q-5D-5L, DEMQOL-U and DEMQOL-Proxy-U in a post-hospitalisation population of frail older people living in residential aged care
Ratcliffe J, Flint T, Easton T, Killington M, Cameron I, Davies O, Whitehead C, Kurrle S, Miller M, Liu E, Crotty M. (2017) Appied Health Economics and Health Policy; 15(3): 399-412.

Association of Cardiovascular System medications with cognitive function and dementia in older adults living in nursing homes in Australia
Liu E, Dyer S, O'Donnell L, Milte R, Bradley C, Harrison S, Gnanamanuckam E, Whitehead C, Crotty M. (2017) Journal of Geriatric Cardiology; 16(6): 407-415.

Consumer Choice Index - 6 Dimension (CCI-6D)

With the recent introduction of consumer directed care in the Australian aged care sector, there is growing emphasis on providing people living in residential aged care with increasing levels of flexibility and choice in their care, which is hoped to lead to improved quality of life and wellbeing.

In order to better meet the needs and expectations of residents (including people with dementia) and their family members, it is essential that we understand the perspectives of residents and family members (consumers) themselves.

The 'models of residential care for older people with cognitive decline' project team has developed an Australian consumer derived measure of quality and choice in long-term aged care - the Consumer Choice Index – 6 Dimension (CCI-6D). The CCI-6D has been developed to specifically evaluate the quality of care in residential aged care homes from a consumer perspective.

The tool has been validated and correlates as expected with other related measures of resident quality of life and quality of care.

To develop the tool, qualitative interviews were conducted with residents of aged care homes, including people with dementia and their family members to ascertain what characteristics of residential aged care are important to them for good quality care.

The CCI-6D measures six key characteristics of quality care which were derived from these interviews. The CCI-6D can be used by aged care organisations to properly evaluate the success of innovations to improve care from their consumers’ perspectives.

More information can be found in the links below:

CCI_6D_User_Guide (PDF 2MB)

CCI_6D_Showcards (PDF 160KB)

Consumer Choice Summary – Consumer (PDF 517KB)

Consumer Choice Summary – Industry (PDF 1MB)  

CCI-6D Publications:

Evaluating the quality of care in long-term facilities from a consumer perspective: development and construct validity of the Consumer Choice Index - Six Dimension Instrument 
Milte R, Ratcliffe J, Bradley C, Shulver W, Crotty M. (2017). Ageing and Society; 1-23.

Quality in residential care from the perspective of people living with dementia: the importance of personhood
Milte R, Shulver W, Killington M, Bradley C, Ratcliffe J, Crotty M. (2016). Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics; 63: 9-17.

What characteristics of nursing homes are most valued by consumers? A discrete choice experiment with residents and family members
Milte R, Ratcliffe J, Chen G, Crotty M. (2017) Value in Health; Dec 6: 1-7.

CCI-6D media content:

9 News Adelaide interview with Associate Professor Craig Whitehead

Aged Care Insite podcast interview with Dr Suzanne Dyer

Flinders University blog – aged care homes under consumer watch 


Translating evidence based programs

Professor Maria Crotty and Dr Kate Laver are also collaborating with researchers from the University of Sydney and the United States to translate evidence based programs for the person with dementia and their caregivers into the Australian context. This translational research project will involve sites within South Australia and New South Wales.


Digital delivery of programs to delay functional decline

Dr Kate Laver is an NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow who is undertaking a project to examine telehealth (feasibility and efficacy) to deliver programs for people with dementia and their caregivers with the aim of delaying functional decline.