Young Onset Dementia – Bridging the gap between diagnosis and community

Young Onset Dementia is the onset of dementia under the age of 65 years. Current prevalence data suggests that some 24,000 people nationally are affected by Young Onset Dementia.

In Victoria, access to services for those with dementia under the age of 65 is challenging as consumers and referrers attempt to navigate the complexity of aged and disability protocols and legislations that poorly address the needs of younger people with dementia and their families. A collaborative partnership has been established across service providers in Melbourne’s Northern Metropolitan region.

Baptcare Northern, Northwest Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) and the Neuropsychiatry Unit (Royal Melbourne Hospital North West Adult Mental Health) are collaborating to bridge the gap and initiate service provision from the point of diagnosis of Younger Onset Dementia through to community support and care. BANCPASS is the result of this collaboration. BANCPASS (Baptcare, ACAS, Neuropsychiatry Consortium: Partners Across Service Sectors) identifies patients with Young Onset Dementia at the point of diagnosis, engages with the patient and their family, and with their consent refers to ACAS for aged care assessment.

If approved for a community support package, Baptcare will then allocate case management of the client to ensure that they are supported in their home and local community. Such referral, assessment and allocation outside of this collaboration can take 12 months or longer to complete, resulting in carer burnout and premature residential placement. BANCPASS offers a service delivery pathway providing consumers and their families a supported model of care.

Simultaneously, Baptcare Northern and ACAS are provided with person specific clinical assessment outcomes and ongoing professional development, establishing a team of staff specialising in Young Onset Dementia.

Ms JoAnne Bevilacqua, Senior Clinician – social worker, Neuropsychiatry Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital, North West Mental Health, VIC, Australia will deliver this presentation at The 14th International Mental Health Conference to be held at Outrigger, Surfers Paradise on Monday the 5th and Tuesday the 6th of August 2013.  Ms Bevilacqua will address the process of collaboration; the positive impact on families, and the reciprocal continued education for all services involved.

Ms JoAnne Bevilacqua is a social worker and family therapist. Her interest in Young Onset Dementia developed from her work with those diagnaosed through the Neuropsychiatry Unit at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where she holds a senior clinician position. JoAnne is committed to increasing specialised Younger Onset services and supports through collaborative community development.

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