Young Onset Dementia and Telehealth
Young Onset Dementia (YOD), dementia with onset prior to 65 years of age, affects approximately 25,000 Australia, and makes up 10% of all dementia cases. While dementia is a National Health Priority Area, patients with YOD fall through clinical service gaps and struggle to access the highly specialised expertise required to diagnose and manage their unique set of needs.
The BRIGHT-YOD Project
The Utilising Telehealth to bridge the gaps in Young Onset Dementia Project is an innovative Telehealth project, funded by Better Care Victoria, designed to improve access to diagnosis and care for those with possible young-onset dementia, or atypical dementias, whilst reducing costs associated with accessing specialist clinics.
The Project will deliver the Melbourne Young Onset Dementia Service (MYOD) Multidisciplinary model wherever it is needed in Victoria through the use of Telehealth.
We aim to enhance referral pathways between the MYOD Service, the Neuropsychiatry unit and our community partners, which include but are not limited to, Albury / Wodonga Health, Ballarat Health Services, Royal Park CDAMS, Goulburn Valley Health, Dementia Australia, and Huntington’s Victoria; with the aim to increase access and reduce diagnostic delay.
What is Telehealth?
Online videoconferencing in healthcare also known as Telehealth, enables patients, who are deemed clinically appropriate, to have video appointments with our specialists using their own smartphone, tablet or computer.
What can we offer your patient as part of our Neuropsychiatry Telehealth Outpatient Only Service?
Our specialists based at the Neuropsychiatry Unit Outpatient Clinics (including the Melbourne Young Onset Dementia Service) can offer your patient as well as yourself as the patient’s health care provider:
- neuropsychiatric assessment
- neuropsychological assessment
- primary or secondary consultations
- second opinions
- attendance at multidisciplinary meetings
- educational seminars
- involvement in carer and patient support
- video interpreting services available
Where is the Neuropsychiatry Unit Outpatient Clinic located?
The Melbourne Young Onset Dementia Service (MYOD) is part of the Neuropsychiatry Unit (NPU) of NorthWestern Mental Health (located within the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Parkville). It provides the only integrated multidisciplinary specialist service (inpatient and outpatient) for YOD patients in Australasia.
What is the referral criteria?
Your patient may be referred to the Service for either:
- Huntington’s Disease or predictive Huntington’s Disease
- possible Young-Onset Dementia (age of symptoms onset <70)
- atypical dementia of any age
- complex psychiatric disorder
- other neuropsychiatric presentation (schizophrenia with movement disorder, vasculitis, organic psychiatric disorder, neurometabolic disorder)
Is my patient eligible for access to the service?
Telehealth can be especially helpful for anyone who finds it difficult to get to the Royal Melbourne Hospital or have to travel a long way to get here.
Your patient may be eligible if they:
- live in a rural or regional areas (ARIA level 1 or higher) - please use the Doctor Connect website to see if where you live is eligible to access RMH Telehealth services
- travel is limited by mobility or cognition irrespective of ARIA level
- is a nursing home resident
- is currently an acute psychiatric inpatient
- has access to adequate internet connection and Telehealth equipment - see the Telehealth page for requirements
You may deem it clinically relevant and appropriate to be included in ongoing clinical discussions about the patient.
Referrals will not be accepted if another service is felt to be more appropriate (such as a private psychiatrist or brain injury service) or if request is for neuropsychology.
How do I make a patient referral to the Telehealth service?
Visit the Neuropsychiatry at the RMH website for more information.
What information do I need to include as part of my referral?
Referral information should include patient details, referral letter / email outlining referral questions, investigation details and provider number of the referrer, as well as contact details.
Professional Development Opportunities
The project also aims to build capacity by developing and delivering specialist education and training on selected YOD topics for clinicians working across our partner organisations.
If you would like to access our education training, and / or would like to learn more about the project, please contact the BRIGHT-YOD Project Manager.