MAXCOG: Maximising Cognition

An individualised information resource for people with mild cognitive impairment and early dementia

A growing body of evidence suggests that the use of cognitive management techniques may result in ongoing improvements in cognitive functioning for older adults with MCI or early dementia, at least in the short term. Our group and collaborators have developed a new set of information modules to be utilised by specialist health professionals working with clients with MCI or early dementia. The content is based on findings from literature reviews, clinical expertise and qualitative feedback from clients and families. This new information resource aims to:

  • Provide individualised information provision about cognitive, psychosocial and practical management strategies for clients and families
  • Facilitate early intervention and support when the client remains capable of learning and benefiting from coping strategies


About us

Project team

Chief Investigator: Dr Bridget Ryburn

Project Officer: Laura Varanelli

Co-investigators: Dr Colleen Doyle, Professor Yvonne Wells & Professor Glynda Kinsella

Graphic Designer: Karen Rumley (ID Yours)

Editor: Mary Caruana

The project officially titled 'An individualised information resource for people with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Early Dementia' has been funded by the J. O. & J. R. Wicking Trust.

People who have contributed to the content of the handouts include:

La Trobe University

  • Lincoln Centre for Research on Ageing: Dr Judy Tang
  • School of Communication Studies: Donna McNeil Brown

Southern Health

  • Kingston CDAMS team: Jennine Melville (CDAMS Coordinator), Jane Cronk (Community Nurse), Judy Bowles (Social Worker), Dr Walter Gee, Dr Jillian Trethewey and Dr Margaret Tange (Consultant Geriatricians), Fiona Barson (ex-Neuropsychologist from CDAMS)
  • Speech Pathology: Michelle O'Rourke, Jill Bennet
  • Clinical Psychology: Carmel Lum

Austin Health

  • Heidelberg CDAMS: Fiona Gallery (CDAMS Coordinator)

Barwon Health

  • Geelong CDAMS: Viv George (CDAMS Coordinator)

Eastern Health

  • Wantirna CDAMS: Madeleine Adams (CDAMS Coordinator)

Peninsula Health

  • Mt Eliza CDAMS: Lyn Gray (CDAMS Coordinator)

Western Health

  • Sunshine CDAMS: Michelle New (CDAMS Coordinator)

Other external experts:

  • Dr Evrim March (PhD neuropscyhology of language and dementia), Di Calleja (DHS)
  • Clients and carers from Kingston CDAMS

Key references

Key references include:

  • Clare, L. Neuropsychological rehabilitation and people with dementia. Hove, East Sussex; Psychology Press, 2008
  • Kinsella, G. J., Mullaly, E., & Rand, E., et al., Early intervention for mild cognitive impairment: a randomised control trial. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 2009; 80: 730-736
  • Moniz-Cook, E. & Manthorpe, J., Early psychosocial interventions in dementia: evidence based practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2009
  • Sargent, D. & Unkenstein, A., Remembering well: how memory works and what to do when it doesn’t – 2nd ed. St Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 2001
  • Stuss,D., Winocur, G., & Robertson, I.(eds.), Cognitive Neurorehabiliation: Evidence and Application – 2nd ed. London: Cambridge University Press, 2008
  • Valenzuela, M. J., It’s never too late to change your mind: The latest medical thinking on what you can do to avoid dementia. Sydney: ABC books, 2009.


We have recently completed a formal evaluation of the usefulness of the new information resource via a controlled group trial with clients and family carers from the Kingston Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service in Melbourne. Eighty clients and family carers were interviewed via phone to find out their perceptions about the feedback and information provided by the CDAMS service, half of whom received copies of the new handouts and the other half who received ‘service as usual’. Five CDAMS clinics across Victoria (including Austin, Western, Eastern, Peninsula and Gippsland) also trialled the use of the handouts and have provided feedback about the new resource. We will also send out email surveys to health professionals who download the new resource online.

Further information about the results of the formal evaluation will be available shortly.