Celebrating 20 Years of our Memory Assessment Program

HealthWISE is celebrating 20 years supporting locals living with dementia.

This financial year the non-profit’s Memory Assessment Program (MAP) has already assisted over 100 people seeking assessment for dementia, while also hosting a monthly support group for carers.

“This program has touched the lives of countless people living with dementia and those who care for and support them,” HealthWISE Allied Health team leader Alicia Pratt said.

HealthWISE MAP coordinator Cate Doyle and Dementia Carer Support advisor Sally Henry deliver the early intervention program in Armidale, Glen Innes, Inverell, Tenterfield and Uralla.

“Both Sally and Cate go above and beyond in the care and energy they devote to the MAP program and to their clients. They cover a vast area, meet people in their homes where they feel at ease; they take time to gather not only the cognitive screening results but also a detailed social history,” HealthWISE Integrated Care manager Anne Williams said.

“The quality of their comprehensive assessments is really gold standard. Their detailed reports are valued by the GPs, specialists and families they work with.”

The milestone was honoured at an evening of professional development for healthcare providers held at the Tattersalls Hotel last week, co-hosted by the Rural Doctor’s Network (RDN), HealthWISE and the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN).

The event drew some original MAP staff back to Armidale, and speakers included retired geriatrician Dr Gerry de Gabriele, and specialist geriatricians Professor Sue Kurrle and Dr Alex Annesley.

Professor Kurrle spoke on the latest developments in dementia diagnosis. In January, Professor Kurrle was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for her research into dementia and cognitive function, and distinguished service to medicine as a geriatrician.
She holds the Curran Chair in Health Care of Older People in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney, and is also known for her role as an expert on the ABC documentary series Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds.

Dr Annesley discussed driving and dementia. In addition to her clinic work, she enjoys her role in the GRACE team – an acute Geriatric Outreach Team treating patients in residential aged care facilities and the wider community who are at risk of imminent hospitalisation.

Practising at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital in northern Sydney and at Batemans Bay and Moruya Hospitals in southern New South Wales, Professor Kurrle and Dr Annesley both provide telehealth clinics for MAP clients.

The HealthWISE Memory Assessment Program is made possible with funding from the HNECC PHN.

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