Dementia Australia welcomes the NSW Government’s budget announcement to increase support for palliative care services and invest in aged care training.
The funding of $55.9 million for palliative care services over four years includes an additional 5,000 End of Life support packages and access to specialist allied health professionals to provide better quality care and support.
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said this investment in funding is welcome, and a focus on dementia-specific services is also essential to ensure appropriate supports for people living with dementia.
“Dementia is a terminal illness and appropriate palliative care is an essential element of quality care and end of life care for people with dementia, as well as for their families and carers,” Ms McCabe said.
“Improving palliative care for people with dementia, no matter where they live, must be a policy priority, Australia-wide, across the states and territories.”
Dementia Australia also acknowledges the investment in aged care training, including up to 20,000 training places to skill people working in aged care and $17 million to boost jobs in the disability support sector.
“We encourage a focus on dementia-specific training in this package. With over two thirds of all people living in residential aged care experiencing moderate to severe cognitive impairment, it is essential that a minimum level of dementia-specific training becomes a prerequisite to work in aged care across all parts of the system,” Ms McCabe said.
“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 dementia then there will be quality care for all.
“Staff education and training are paramount to improving the deficiencies in the current system, eliminating the misuse of physical and chemical restraint, and treating people with the respect, dignity and care they deserve.”
In 2020, there are an estimated 153,000 people living with dementia in NSW. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people living with dementia is expected to increase to an estimated 345,000 people by 2058.
“Dementia impacts many people in NSW and further action is needed to support them,” Ms McCabe said.
“We look forward to continuing our work with the NSW Government to ensure people living with dementia, their families and carers receive the best, quality dementia care.”
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.