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Compulsory dementia education as important as pay rise for aged care workers

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

Dementia Australia welcomes the Fair Work Commission’s decision to deliver a pay increase for workers in the aged care sector who care for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Dementia Australia Chief Operating Officer, Anthony Boffa said that while pay and conditions for aged care workers are important, equally important is investing in the skills and capacity they have to support people living with dementia. This must remain a priority in the ongoing aged care reform process.

“The pay increase of at least 15 per cent for aged care workers in direct care roles is an important step in supporting and protecting the aged care workforce, however ensuring a minimum level of compulsory dementia care education across the entire workforce is as important as increasing staffing wages,” Mr Boffa said.

“With 65 per cent of all those in residential aged care having a moderate to severe cognitive impairment and 70 per cent of the almost half a million Australians with dementia living in the community accessing in-home care, all staff employed and entrusted to provide care must be appropriately trained in dementia care.

“Dementia education leads to fewer high-risk incidents, lower rates of inappropriate use of medication and more positive staff attitudes and morale, which ultimately results in better service delivery and quality of life for people living with dementia.

“The sooner the whole aged care workforce is accessing appropriate dementia care education and training the sooner we will begin to see the changes needed to improve the health, lifestyle and care outcomes for people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers.”

“We know from our work and broad consultation with people living with dementia, their families and carers, that if we get quality care right for people living with dementia, then there will be quality care for all.

“Dementia Australia looks forward to continuing consultation with the government on embedding compulsory dementia education within the aged care sector, as part of the ongoing development of the National Dementia Action Plan.”

Dementia Australia’s position statement, Dementia education and the residential aged care workforce has been shared with all parties and across the health, aged care, services and disability sectors.

Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for the estimated half a million Australians living with dementia, and the almost 1.6 million people involved in their care. We advocate for positive change and support vital research. We are here to support people impacted by dementia, and to enable them to live as well as possible. No matter how you are impacted by dementia or who you are, we are here for you.

 

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