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Medical Health Aged Care

General practice care crucial in helping patients with Dementia

Royal Australian College of GPs 3 mins read

Dementia Action Week is a great opportunity to highlight policy reforms that will benefit people living with Dementia.

It comes ahead of the World Organisation of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians, or WONCA, world conference in Sydney from 26 to 29 October 2023. WONCA will include a series of informative presentations on Dementia and related issues including:

  • home palliative care for patients with advanced Dementia
  • Dementia knowledge and attitudes amongst healthcare workers
  • new Australian guidelines for the appropriate use of psychotropic medications in people living with Dementia and in residential aged care
  • predicting mid and late-life Dementia risk in primary care settings.

You can register to attend WONCA and the pre-conference workshops here.

RACGP spokesperson Professor Dimity Pond encouraged GPs to attend WONCA 2023.

“This is a conference not to be missed,” she said.

“Amidst the many interesting and varied addresses, workshops and panel discussions, there will be lots of interesting points made about Dementia and I urge you all to take full advantage. Issues like the appropriate use of psychotropic medications or how to predict mid and later-life Dementia are so important for the future of caring for people with Dementia, and WONCA 2023 is an opportunity to listen to the experts and share your own insights and ideas.

“Together, we can learn from each other, impart our own wisdom and experiences, and figure out how to ensure no patients with Dementia fall through the cracks of our health system. GPs across Australia do a wonderful job helping patients with Dementia and the people in their life supporting them, and something I think we all need to be mindful of is that Dementia affects every single part of how a patient managers their health, including chronic diseases.

“So, we need to make it as easy as possible for them and their families, carers and loved ones, and that means taking steps like suggesting Webster packs for medications, calling on the day to remind about appointments, or setting up reminder systems with allied health practitioners to ensure continuity of care. All these steps taken together can make a real difference.”

Chair of the RACGP Specific Interests Group on Aged Care, Dr Anthony Marinucci, said that more should be done to help patients with Dementia.

“We must do more to boost awareness of Dementia and help patients in communities across Australia,” he said.

“Recent data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that Dementia is an increasingly common condition that GPs to be aware of and always on the look-out for. Not only that, the prevalence of Dementia is predicted to increase in patients aged 65 and over in Australia, so there has never been a more important time to ensure that we get this right.

“A nation-wide strategy must be a priority. As things stand, we have the National Dementia Action Plan, which is a federal and state and territory response to the rise in the number of people living with Dementia in Australia. The plan is a good starting point for the major issues we need to address. This includes addressing stigma and discrimination, and recognising the increased physical and psychological needs of people living with Dementia and how this requires a multidisciplinary team care approach in relation to diagnosis, treatment, coordination, and support. 

“It’s vital that we do everything possible to ensure people with Dementia get the care and support they need, and WONCA is a great opportunity to enhance awareness and spread the word.”

The RACGP’s Silver Book section on Dementia can be found here. A new section (Part C) is now also available and includes content on Dementia, available here.

Hosted by the RACGP, WONCA is not a conference to be missed. Themed, “Recovery, reconnection, and revival. A celebration of primary care," it will include more than 800 presentations and workshops from over 700 local and international presenters from around the world. WONCA will feature over 50 streams, covering a range of issues being faced by GPs including mental health, women’s health, climate change, rural practice, and more.


RACGP spokespeople are available for interview.

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About the RACGP

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.

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Contact details:

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Media Adviser

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Email: (we will respond promptly to all requests for interview).

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