Home' News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin April 2016 Contents COVER STORY
Michael Jackman lived for ten years with
Alzheimer's disease, cared for throughout
that time by his wife Joan and their family
in Sydney. Michael died in 2010, at the
age of 77.
Six years after his death, his experiences
through the various stages of dementia are
now playing a valuable role in directing
a new initiative by the Australian Dental
The Partnership in Practising Care: Quality
Dental Care for People with Dementia program
is to be launched on 25 May 2016 at
Parliament House, Canberra. This continuing
professional development tool has been
designed in conjunction with Alzheimer's
Australia to offer a series of educational
video modules on the ADA website to inform
dentists about the best practice procedures
for the treatment of patients with dementia.
Partnership in Practising Care is funded by
the Alzheimer's Australia National Quality
Dementia Care Initiative with support from
J.O. & J.R. Wicking Trust. The ADA identified
the need for this program over recent
years, as the number of patients living with
dementia in Australia has increased. The
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
estimate the number of people living with
dementia will be 400,000 by 2020.
As the primary carer, Joan Jackman was
a first-hand witness to Michael's medical
experiences. She has offered her valuable
insights into that process in her role on the
ADA Steering Committee on Dementia, and
shares her experiences in the introductory
Module 1 of the online video program.
"I don't think many dentists realise just how
important they are in the overall process,"
"The main points I raise are that a patient
always deserves dignity and respect, and
also the importance of consistency in care
when dealing with a practitioner," she
explains. "Having access to a community
based dentist through each stage of the
progress of dementia would make things
so much easier. It is so vital there are
people who know and understand the
situation as it progresses.
"There is also the importance of
communication not only with the patient
but also with the carer. By the dentist
establishing that early on, it can make
it easier for everyone to create a true
partnership in care."
DEMENTIA BY DEFINITION
According to Alzheimer's Australia's official
definitions, dementia describes a collection
of symptoms caused by disorders affecting
the brain. It is not one specific disease.
Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and
the ability to perform everyday tasks. Most
people with dementia are older, and it is
most common after the age of 65 years.
Among the most common types of
dementia are Alzheimer's disease, Vascular
dementia, Parkinson's disease, Fronto
Temporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) and
The early signs of dementia can be
subtle, with the most common symptoms
including progressive memory loss,
confusion, personality change, apathy
With an ageing population, the number
of Australians aged over 65 is now around
3.5 million; and aged 85 years and over
are almost half a million. As more people
are living longer, so too is the increasing
number of people living with conditions
A TIME OF CHANGE
The six modules, with 19 videos, make up
the Partnership in Practising Care program
explore a range of oral health care issues in
patients living with dementia.
The first module is an introduction to
dementia covering key statistics and
real-life stories about people living with
dementia. The University of Sydney's
Professor Clive Wright, who works with
the Centre for Education and Research on
Ageing at Concord Clinical School, appears
in this module, alongside Joan Jackman
and the international dementia advocate,
Associate Professor Wright quotes the Caring
for Older Australians Productivity Commission
Report of 2011, with the figures that at 70--75
years, the rate of dementia is 3.5 per cent in
men and 3.3 per cent in women. By the age
of 85--89, the figure has increased to 21 per
cent in men and 24 per cent in women. "This
new phenomenon raises so many questions,"
Professor Wright says. "Some have called it
a 'tsunami' of aged people with cognitive
impairments. We need to be asking how
do we manage their health if they still have
teeth, and how are we going to provide good
quality preventive maintenance services."
Associate Professor Wright believes
Australia's dental community needs to
understand two important factors to cope
with the reality coming into most clinics.
"The first thing is to recognise we have
a big problem, and we need to have an
awareness of what it is about," he says. "The
second thing is all dentists need to know
how to treat this and be ready to do so."
WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP
The second module, Dentistry and Ageing
explores symptoms, stages and lifespan
of dementia, and the range of cognitive
changes that occur.
Matt Hopcroft and Vasi Naganathan filming the Dentistry and Ageing module.
ADA NEWS BULLETIN | APRIL 2016 | 19
Links Archive ADA News Bulletin March 2016 ADA News Bulletin May 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page