Adelaide, China unite for dementia

Source: Shutterstock.

Photo: Source: Shutterstock.

A team of Chinese delegates are visiting South Australia’s Flinders University to develop a dementia care training program, following a $25,000 grant from the Australia-China Council.

The health academics – based at the Central South University in China’s Hunan Province – have joined forces with a group of academics from Flinders University’s School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Midwifery to develop and deliver dementia education to Chinese clinicians.

During their visit, the delegates will work with Flinders to co-produce a culturally appropriate, user-friendly workbook with guidelines, care models, tools and case studies to help trainers deliver dementia care education to trainee health professionals in community health centres.

Members of the Flinders team - comprising Dr Lily Xiao, Professor Jan Paterson, Dr Anita De Bellis, Associate Professor Craig Whitehead and Dr Owen Davies – will visit China in October to deliver a three-day workshop to 50 trainers, including doctors and nurses, who will go on to train 1,400 trainees from 14 regions in the Province.

Dr Xiao, who is managing Flinders University’s involvement in the project, says the collaboration builds on a previous dementia care project co-funded by the two universities, which found dementia care in China is largely underdeveloped because of a lack of education programs.

“Most people with dementia live at home and are cared for by their family members, yet the family receives very limited health services specific to dementia,” Dr Xiao claims.

She adds although many other factors contribute to this situation, the health professionals’ general lack of knowledge about dementia care has been identified as one of foremost factors.

The aim of the ‘train the trainer’ project is to strengthen collaboration in dementia care education and research between Australian and China.

The education package also aims to facilitate evidence-based dementia care practice in primary health care settings, and will be delivered in an inter-professional, interactive learning environment by inviting doctors and nurses to participate in the program.

In addition to the Australia-China Council grant, Dr Xiao says Flinders and Central South will contribute up to $30,000 in cash and in-kind support to the project, with the results of the collaboration expected to be disseminated to key stakeholders at a forum in Changsha in June next year.