1316724_Alty,J_2023.pdf (338.3 kB)
A new one‐stop interdisciplinary cognitive clinic model tackles rural health inequality and halves the time to diagnosis: Benchmarked against a national dementia registry
journal contributionposted 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.