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People with dementia demand quality care in Australia

Close-up portrait of senior woman with dementia who is looking through window.

Dementia Australia demands quality dementia care in anticipation of the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety which has been handed to the Governor General.

“All Australians need to have confidence and trust in our aged care system. People with the lived experience of dementia have told us – if you get dementia care right you get it right for everyone.” said Maree McCabe, CEO Dementia Australia said

“This is the once in a generation opportunity to transform dementia care and the aged care system overall,” Ms McCabe added.

The transformation needed to deliver quality dementia care needs a commitment to:

  1. Dementia Support Pathways: An integrated and specialist service response with a single access point, that is a centralised, national telephone and online service that sits alongside My Aged Care.
  2. Transformed Dementia Workforce Capability: An integrated approach to build dementia capability and expertise of the aged care workforce by mandating minimum levels of dementia education. Developing dementia practice leaders will support the application of this learning as well as promote practice change. This will ensure the aged care workforce has the necessary skills, knowledge and capability to provide quality care and support to people living with dementia.
  3. Dementia-Friendly Design: Developing and embedding a set of robust, evidence-based and practice-informed dementia-friendly standards. This will enable physical environments that support people living with dementia to be as independent as possible.

“Dementia is not yet core business in the majority of aged care settings despite the fact 68% of residents known to have moderate to severe cognitive impairment,” Ms McCabe said.

“Outcomes and quality indicators for people living with dementia are not defined, measured or used to inform continuous improvement and at present, people living with dementia and their carers are not at the centre of service planning, delivery, feedback and evaluation.

“Diagnosis, service pathways and access to information, support, and services is complex and not timely and there is a lack of understanding about the significance of dementia-friendly environments for people living with dementia.

“The current health, disability and aged care workforce – at all levels including leadership and management – for the most part lacks an understanding of dementia and the knowledge and skills needed to deliver quality dementia care.

“Dementia Australia has had promising discussions with the Federal Government regarding our holistic plan for the future, the Roadmap to Quality Dementia Care. We have been urging the government not to take a piecemeal approach in their response to the Royal Commission report.

“We urge the government to demonstrate their commitment to the 472,000 Australian living with dementia and the 1.6 million people involved in their care.

“Getting quality care right for people living with dementia will have a profound and lasting, impact for all – systemically, economically and as a human right.   It is our responsibility as a society to provide appropriate care for those who are most vulnerable.

“That opportunity is now in the hands of the federal government.”

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