Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Transcripts of Inquiry into Dementia: Early Detection and Interventions

You may be interested in reading the transcripts of the three hearings held so far in the Parliamentary Inquiry into Dementia: Early Diagnosis and Intervention.

A quick search of the Adelaide hearing returned no matches for the search term "neuropsychol", the Sydney hearing mentioned it once, but we were very well-represented by David Stokes at the Melbourne hearing, with his APS colleagues Leah Collins and Li Bo making some good points (see page 17 of the Melbourne transcript). 

The final part of the transcript, with Dr Jenny Torr, an psychiatrist who specialises in intellectual disability, shows an area of need for neuropsychological services, and concerns about people with brain damage and intellectual disability falling through the cracks in the system.

It's so frustrating that we don't have more neuropsychology courses in this country, and that it's so hard to access our services for many of the people who need us. In the US, there has been a massive increase in the proportion of medicolegal work done by neuropsychologists, and in Australia, the best-paid neuropsychologists in private practice do medicolegal or insurance work. This kind of work would rarely result in the early detection of dementia. People with progressive neurological conditions often miss out on early diagnosis and intervention, unless they're lucky enough to be able to access a neuropsychologist in the public system, or afford a private assessment. 

I'm hopeful that raising awareness of the role of neuropsychology in early diagnosis of dementia will help bring about improvements in access to neuropsychologists by people in need, and in scholarships and increased support for training of neuropsychologists.

Thanks to David Stokes and the APS team for advocating for the role of neuropsychologists in early diagnosis.

happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I think that earlier detection of Dementia will be of great benefit to the aging population.Not only will early treatment help slow down the illness, but a lot can be learned about prevention.The elderly is a large group of people who have a lot to offer. I am very pleased to hear about any kind of research being done in this needed area.

    Dementia Clinic