Diagnosis of dementia in residential aged care settings in Australia: An opportunity for improvements in quality of care?
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Objective: To examine the cognitive status of Australians living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) and whether or not a dementia diagnosis was recorded. Methods Cross‐sectional study of 541 residents of 17 RACFs spanning four states. Examination of cognitive status by Psychogeriatric Assessment Scale Cognitive Impairment Scale (PAS‐Cog) and dementia diagnosis from medical records. Results The study population included 65% of residents with a diagnosis of dementia recorded, and 83% had a PAS‐Cog score of four or more indicating likely cognitive impairment. More than 20% of participants had likely cognitive impairment (PAS‐Cog ≥4), but no diagnosis of dementia; 11% had moderate‐to‐severe cognitive impairment (PAS‐Cog ≥10) but no recorded dementia diagnosis. Conclusion There may be a lack of formal diagnosis of dementia in Australian RACFs. Greater efforts from all health professionals to improve diagnosis in this setting are required. This is an opportunity for improved person‐centred care and quality of care in this vulnerable population.
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