Awareness & recognition of significant symptoms

This stage incorporates recognition of dementia signs and symptoms requiring consideration for further investigation, assessment, diagnosis and support.

The primary focus is on:

  • the benefits of early diagnosis
  • understanding and responding to the signs and symptoms of dementia
  • acknowledging dementia as a chronic and progressive disease
  • timely recognition and referral for further specialist investigation
  • maintaining social connection and accessing community care and support. [1]

When the patient or family raise concerns about memory or cognition, it should not be dismiss as "old age". Concerns or symptoms should be explored when they are first raise. [2]

Although general population screening should not be undertaken, health practitioners should be alert to cognitive decline in older patients especially those aged over 75. Practitioners should routinely ask about difficulties with memory. [3]

KPMG Dementia service pathways - an essential guide to effective service planning 2011 pg. 13

Clinical Practice Guidelines for Dementia in Australia: Recommendations 2016

14 essentials for good dementia care in general practice. Dementia Collaborative Research Centre 2011