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A new one‐stop interdisciplinary cognitive clinic model tackles rural health inequality and halves the time to diagnosis: Benchmarked against a national dementia registry

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-11-14, 03:57 authored by Jane Alty, Katherine LawlerKatherine Lawler, Katharine Salmon, Scott McDonald, Kimberley Stuart, Alison Cleary, Jak Ma, Kaylee Rudd, Xinyi Wang, Sigourney Chiranakorn‐Costa, Jessica Collins, Helga Merl, Xiaoping Lin, James C Vickers
Objectives: Unequal access to cognitive assessments is a major barrier to timely diagnosis, especially for those living in rural or remote areas. ‘One-stop’ cognitive clinic models are a proposed solution, but few such clinics exist. We evaluate the implementation of a new one-stop State-wide clinic model in Tasmania, Australia, where 27% of people live in rural/remote areas. Methods: A novel single-visit protocol has been developed, comprising interdisciplinary medical and cognitive assessments, research participation, consensus diagnosis and management plan. A cross-sectional evaluation was undertaken using the RE-AIM (reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, maintenance) framework and results benchmarked against the national Australian Dementia Network Registry. Results: Over the first 52 consecutive weekly clinics: Reach: 130 adults were assessed (mean age [SD] 70.12 years [10.31]; 59.2% female) with 40 (36.8%) from rural/remote areas. Effectiveness: 98.5% (128/130) received a same-day diagnosis: 30.1% (n = 40) Subjective Cognitive Decline, 35.4% (46) Mild Cognitive Impairment, 33.1% (43) dementia and one case inconclusive. Adoption: 22.9% (156) of General Practitioners referred patients. Implementation: Nearly all ‘ideal’ diagnostic clinical practices were met and >90% of surveyed patients reported ‘good/very good’ clinic experience. The wait from referral to diagnosis was 2 months shorter than other national Registry clinics (78 vs. 133 days). Conclusions: This ‘one-stop’ model provides an interdisciplinary consensus cognitive diagnosis quickly and is well accepted; this may reduce health inequities especially for people living in rural/remote areas. This cognitive clinic model may be of relevance to other centres worldwide and also provides a rich data source for research studies.


J.O. and J.R. Wicking Trust (Equity Trustees); University of Tasmania; Australian Dementia Network (ADNeT); Australian National Health and Medicine Research Council


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International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry





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© 2023 The Authors. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.