Commissioners have listened to people impacted by dementia – now will government act?

Dementia Australia welcomes the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s Final Report: Care, Dignity and Respect.

Since September 2018, people living with dementia, their families and carers have entrusted the Commissioners with their views, personal experiences and often traumatic stories.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the Final Report captures the essence of those issues and demonstrates the Commissioners have listened to Australians impacted by dementia.

“Within the 148 recommendations are 14 key areas with a specific focus on dementia. We welcome these recommendations and now call on the federal government to demonstrate they are serious about making quality dementia care core business for aged care in Australia,” Ms McCabe said.

“These recommendations broadly cover the need for clearer support pathways; assessing the impact of dementia-specialist support; introducing new regulations on chemical and physical restraint; calling for a review of aged care standards as they relate to quality dementia care; fast-tracking a national aged care worker registration program and specifying that, as a condition of approval of aged care providers; and all workers engaged by providers who are involved in direct contact with people seeking or receiving services in the aged care system undertake regular training about dementia care. Other recommendations focus on the importance of carers, the impact of quality indicators and a need to clarify roles and responsibilities across the sector.

“Dementia Australia will be focusing on the detail of the Final Report and will continue to advocate to the federal government to ensure they act on this once in a generation opportunity to transform dementia care and the aged care system overall.

“People with the lived experience of dementia have told us – if you get dementia care right you get it right for everyone.”

Dementia Australia has provided the federal government with a clear plan on what is needed to deliver quality dementia care and to respond to the Final Report – this includes:

  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.

“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,” Ms McCabe said.

“We will continue our dialogue with the federal government to ensure the dementia-related recommendations will be supported in the 2021-22 federal budget to be handed down in May.”

Dementia Australia’s Roadmap to Quality Dementia Care can be downloaded here.

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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