New Roles Support Earlier Dementia Diagnosis In South Island


14 May 2015

The South Island Alliance’s Health of Older Peoples group (HOPSLA) has announced the recent appointment of two new part-time Primary Care Dementia Education Co-ordinator roles, a move which looks set to support improved diagnosis and quality of life for dementia patients living in the South Island.

The new roles are in response to the fact that many people with dementia are receiving a diagnosis late in their illness as Jenny Keightley, Chair of HOPSLA explains, “helping GPs to make an early diagnosis of dementia and providing links to support services can make a real difference to the patient and their family. It can reduce stigma and enable people with dementia to understand their condition, access treatments that could help relieve their symptoms and improve their quality of life. It can also give them time to plan for the future. The new positions are an exciting development as they will specifically focus on primary care settings, looking at the education resources and the implementation of a dementia education programme across the South Island, so that we can help promote better, earlier diagnosis of dementia and continuity of care.”

One of the new appointees is Carole Kerr, a registered psychiatric nurse with an extensive career related to older people, in particular mental health services for older people, people with disabilities, and Planning and Funding.  Carole is currently the Walking in Another’s Shoes Dementia Educator for Nelson Marlborough DHB. Carole will be on secondment from 18 May 2015.

Carole will share her role with Rebecca Winsor, a registered nurse who works as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) for Older Person’s Health and NetP Nurse Educator for the Princess Margaret Hospital, Canterbury DHB.  Rebecca’s post graduate diploma study has focussed on patients with dementia or delirium, or patients with depression. Rebecca will commence on 11 May 2015 and will be based at the South Island Alliance Programme Office.

The work programme is being led by HOPSLA and positions are fixed-term until 30 June 2016. “We are delighted to have such excellent, experienced new recruits to join our team and look forward very much to working with them in the future,” says Keightley.


For more information contact Anna Dorsey, 0275884672 or email

Published on: Thursday, May 14th, 2015, under Older people health