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This page provides information on strategies for caring for people with cognitive impairment. It provides links back to the Commission’s resource, A better way to care as well as links to external resources, videos and courses to aid in furthering your education on the topic.

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A better way to care

The Commission has developed A better way to care resources to guide health service managers, clinicians and consumers in improving care of people with cognitive impairment. The resources follow a pathway with three main steps:

  1. Be alert to delirium and the risk of harm for patients with cognitive impairment
  2. Recognise and respond to patients with cognitive impairment
  3. Provide safe and high-quality care tailored to the patient’s needs.

The resources describe evidence based strategies that collated from research, a range of existing guidelines and current good practice. Links to further information are provided.

Actions for health service managers

This resource is for health service managers, executives and owners of health services who are responsible for achieving strategic change, and developing programs and projects to improve safety and quality. It links to the existing National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards.

The relevant pages in Actions for Health Service Managers are provided, following the pathway:


Page number

Delirium risk and risk of harm 12-14 and 30-36
Capacity, informed consent and substitute decision making 15- 19
Cognition and cognitive screening 38 – 41
Delirium assessment and re-assessment 43 and 56
Comprehensive assessment and care plan 44-45 and 57
Communication 60 and 81
Partnership with consumers 63 and 81-82
Delirium prevention and treatment 63 and 82
Behavioural changes including limiting the use of antipsychotics and other psychoactive medicines 64 and 84 – 85
Advance care planning 30, 45 and 85
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander considerations 58
Hospital environment 67 and 83
Planning transitions 67 and 83

Actions for clinicians

Actions for clinicians is for clinicians who are responsible for the care and treatment of patients with cognitive impairment. 

Actions for Clinicians is also available as an app:

Actions for consumers

Actions for consumers is designed for patients with cognitive impairment, their carers and families and outlines what they can do during a hospital stay to assist in the provision of safe and high-quality care.

External resources 

Advance care planning

This report Future planning and advance care planning explains important considerations for people with dementia and other forms of cognitive decline. 

Allied Health

Allies in Dementia Health Care Project, a joint initiative of Alzheimer’s Australia and the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation has developed resources that provide an overview of the important role of allied health in supporting people with dementia.

Behavioural changes including limiting the use of antipsychotics and other psychoactive medicines



  • Alzheimer’s Australia Communication Help Sheet, outlines possible changes in communication as a result of dementia and suggests ways families and carers can help. It also includes some personal tips on communication written by a person with dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Australia Cultura is a website and an app that provides a database of resources and cultural information to assist health care workers learn about specific cultural needs
  • Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Language Guidelines , promote use of non-stigmatising language when talking about dementia and people with dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Australia brochure “Talk to me”, provides communication tips for talking to people with dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Society (UKThis is me tool, provides a simple and practical tool that people with dementia can use to tell staff about their needs, preferences, likes, dislikes and interests
  • Sight, perception and hallucinations in dementia is a factsheet from the UK Alzheimer’s Society that outlines the vision and perception difficulties that a person living with dementia can experience and suggests way of providing support.  These difficulties are a reminder of the importance of understanding not only cognitive changes but also the perceptual, visual and language difficulties experienced by a person with cognitive impairment and that these will be different for each person and will change over time. 
  • The Focus on the person form is designed to help family carers inform hospital staff about a person living with dementia. It was developed by Toye et al from Curtin University and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, with funding from the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre: Carers and Consumers.

Consumer information


Resources about delirium are included under consumer information, programs, educational videos, online learning and training courses and international resources.

The Australasian Delirium Association aims to promote better understanding of delirium through leadership, education, support, resources, research and partnerships. 

Elder abuse

The My Aged Care website provides state and territory contact details for information and support.


Dementia Training Australia provides environmental design resources and an environmental design education service to all States and Territories.

Medicine management

 Other forms of cognitive impairment


  • Volunteer Dementia and Delirium Care Implementation and Training Resource provides a comprehensive suite of materials required to establish and implement an evidence-based dementia and delirium care hospital volunteer program. The program aims provide emotional support and practical assistance to patients with dementia and delirium or those patients with identified risk factors for delirium.

State programs

Educational videos

Online learning and training courses

International resources


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