$70 million a year to better support people with severe symptoms of dementia

Some of the most vulnerable Australians who live with dementia will benefit from a world-first national network of specialist care units, thanks to an annual $70 million investment from the Liberal National Government.

The innovative program will see more than 30 specialist care units established to provide best practice person-centred care for people exhibiting very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
This will provide much needed specialist care for people who are currently unable to be appropriately cared for by mainstream residential aged care services.
The program has been developed through extensive consultation with dementia experts, clinicians, state and territory governments, dementia peak groups and carers of people living with dementia.
The Specialist Dementia Care Program will include:
  • a commitment to establish at least one specialist care unit in each Primary Health Network, generally comprising nine beds, located within existing residential aged care facilities;
  • a nationally-consistent needs-based assessment framework to ensure care is delivered to those most in need;
  • person-centred and multidisciplinary care delivered in accordance with 10 Specialist Dementia Care Program service delivery principles;
  • formalised arrangements for regular specialist clinical input and review;
  • transitional support that focuses on reducing or stabilising symptoms, with the aim of enabling the person to move to a less intensive care setting; and
  • regular reporting on client outcomes, independent evaluation and a focus on identifying and sharing best practice in specialist dementia care.
The Specialist Dementia Care Program will be rolled out using a phased approach, starting with an early prototype service expected to be operational by mid-2019.
A tender process in early 2019 will select up to 15 units to be operational by early 2020, subject to evaluation outcomes, the remaining sites will be selected in 2021.
The Specialist Dementia Care Program will operate as the ‘third level’ of Australian Government programs to assist people with dementia, complementing the existing Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service and Severe Behaviour Response Teams.
This $70 million annual investment by full rollout will be in addition to the more than $50 million the Australian Government also provides each year for a number of dementia specific programs to support quality of life and care for people living with dementia.
It’s also on top of the $200 million over five years for the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative, of which $15 million is earmarked for Implementing Dementia Risk Reduction and Prevention Research Priority projects.
A further $3 million is also available to boost Australian dementia data and track prevalence and progress.
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