Understanding Senior Mental Health: Who can Diagnose Dementia?

In an aged care context, typically dementia is diagnosed by either a General Practitioner (GP) who may refer you onto additional specialists, or by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).

The ACAT are apart of My Aged Care who can complete assessments on request and consists of:

•  Registered nurses (RNs)

•  Occupational therapists (OTs)

•  Physiotherapists

•  Speech pathologists

•  Social workers

A dementia assessment may include an extensive psychological and physical health assessment to ensure that a dementia diagnosis is accurate rather than symptoms being caused by other issues.

When being diagnosed by a GP, Dementia Australia outlines some of the information that may be collected by your doctor and/or their referred specialist(s) including:

•  Detailed medical history of the individual with dementia symptoms

•  A conversation with a close loved one to determine when the symptoms first occurred

•  A thorough physical and neurological examination

•  Other specialised tests such as a chest x-ray, ECG, CT scan or MRI

•  A dementia screen which are blood/urine tests

•  Psychiatric assessment to see if something else is mimicking dementia

While it may seem overwhelming or unnecessary, it is crucial to diagnose dementia early when possible to ensure that the right treatment and care is provided.

If you’re concerned that yourself or a loved one may be displaying dementia symptoms, you can contact My Aged Care at 1800 200 422 to set up an ACAT assessment