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Let's CHAT (community health approaches to) dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities: protocol for a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial

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posted on 2021-04-01, 05:45 authored by K Bradley, R Smith, JA Hughson, D Atkinson, D Bessarab, L Flicker, K Radford, K Smith, E Strivens, S Thompson, Irene BlackberryIrene Blackberry, D Logiudice
© 2020 The Author(s).
Background: Documented rates of dementia and cognitive impairment not dementia (CIND) in older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is 3-5 times higher than the rest of the population, and current evidence suggests this condition is under-diagnosed and under-managed in a clinical primary care setting. This study aims to implement and evaluate a culturally responsive best practice model of care to optimise the detection and management of people with cognitive impairment and/or dementia, and to improve the quality of life of carers and older Aboriginal and Torres Islander Peoples with cognitive impairment. Methods/design: The prospective study will use a stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial design working with 12 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) across four states of Australia. Utilising a co-design approach, health system adaptations will be implemented including (i) development of a best practice guide for cognitive impairment and dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (ii) education programs for health professionals supported by local champions and (iii) development of decision support systems for local medical software. In addition, the study will utilise a knowledge translation framework, the Integrated Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (iPARIHS) Framework, to promote long-term sustainable practice change. Process evaluation will also be undertaken to measure the quality, fidelity and contextual influences on the outcomes of the implementation. The primary outcome measures will be rates of documentation of dementia and CIND, and evidence of improved management of dementia and CIND among older Indigenous peoples attending Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary care services through health system changes. The secondary outcomes will be improvements to the quality of life of older Indigenous peoples with dementia and CIND, as well as that of their carers and families. Discussion: The Let's CHAT Dementia project will co-design, implement and evaluate a culturally responsive best practice model of care embedded within current Indigenous primary health care. The best practice model of care has the potential to optimise the timely detection (especially in the early stages) and improve the ongoing management of people with dementia or cognitive impairment. Trial registration: ACTRN12618001485224. Date of registration: 04 of September 2019.


This project is funded by two National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants: a Boosting Dementia Research grant (2017-2020) and a Targeted Call for Research in Indigenous Health grant (mid-2018-2023). The funder had no role in the design of this study and will not have any role during its execution, analyses, interpretation of the data, or decision to submit results.


Publication Date



BMC Health Services Research





Article Number



13p. (p. 1-13)


Springer Nature



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