" We don’t need to wait until after the Royal Commission to start improving the system and the lives of the individuals, the families and the carers impacted. "
People impacted by dementia shouldn’t have to wait until after Royal Commission – federal election latest

As Australia heads to the polls, health policy has been a key election issue for the major parties. The Coalition and Labor’s focus on the health and wellbeing of all Australians has been welcomed by Dementia Australia.

Policy announcements by the Coalition within the aged care sector include providing grassroots funding to deliver social benefits, as well as developing and sustaining the workforce that provides aged care services and progressing innovative models of care that support older members of society.

Labor’s statement of commitment to improving the care of Australians living with dementia is a pleasing recognition of the 447 000 Australians currently living with dementia and the 1.5 million people involved in their care according to Dementia Australia Chair, Professor Graeme Samuel AC.

“At last the focus in this election is on what can be done now and not pushed aside while awaiting the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety,” Prof Samuel said.

“While we acknowledge the spotlight on aged care and dementia by the Royal Commission is essential, as a chronic health disease, there is much that can be done now to improve the lives of all people impacted by dementia.

“We know from multiple recent reports, inquiries and Dementia Australia’s own research what needs to be done.

“We don’t need to wait until after the Royal Commission to start improving the system and the lives of the individuals, the families and the carers impacted.”

Dementia Australia CEO, Maree McCabe said dementia was the largest health and social challenge facing Australia.

“It is the second leading cause of death of Australians and the leading cause of death of women in this country,” Ms McCabe said.

“Ensuring a timely diagnosis, reducing the stigma, increasing awareness and support services for people living with dementia, their families and carers are Dementia Australia’s priority areas and activity can be started immediately in all these areas to make a difference to the lives of everyone who is impacted now and will strengthen the system to support generations to come.

“The appropriate skills mix in aged care is just as important as staffing numbers when caring for people living with dementia.

“Making the system less complicated, with better access to home care packages is an essential step in the right direction, especially when it comes to supporting people’s choices to stay at home, as long as  possible, and engaged in the community around them.

We look forward to seeing this focus on dementia continue well after the election and will eagerly work with the next government to implement the transformational change needed in Australia to ensure people living with dementia, their families and carers are receiving the best, quality dementia care.”

 Posted: May 13th, 2019
Discussion

Glenn Harris said:

My wife just lost her fight with YOD 4/03/2019,The preceding 14yrs and particularly the last 5 were nothing less than a nightmare dealing with our Home Care Provider from 2014/15 when CDC was introduced ,more emphasis on spending care package funds than quality care and fit for purpose equipment .

Liz said:

Totally agree. We don’t need to invent a model for caring for people with dementia. Several exist overseas. Why do we not adopt rather than re-invent.

Rebecca Hill said:

Thank you for this information. I look at it and think and reflect about it when I read it. As someone who works in aged care in catering(catering assistant) for 8 years, serving dinner 3 days a week to the elderly residents at Goodwin Aged Care Services Limited in the older suburb of Ainslie, in Canberra, one of Canberra's best and oldest nursing homes, I regularly see many elderly residents with different types dementia at different stages all the time(mainly Alzheimers, Lowy Body, Frontal Temporal, Alcohol-related or Vascular) and feel sorry for them and their families, though I know that often they are getting the best care that we can provide them. I often get to have a chat with them about what their lives in the past, which they often appreciate so much(long-term memory for them is much better than short-term I find) and they often tell me how much they appreciate what I do for them, which is nice. I feel a bit like their grand-daughter at 36 years of age. I hope that whether it is a Labor or Liberal Federal government that is elected in the Federal election over the weekend, that they will keep their promises of a Royal Aged Care Commission that we have been hoping for for so many years and look into this poorly paid, hard-working, private sector in our community to improve the lives for the better without abuse, starvation, imprisonment and exploitation of the vulnerable elderly, frail residents living in the aged care homes(average age- 86(though it can vary between 70 and 102), often living with multiple health conditions(diabetes, smoking-related conditions, schizerphrenia, high(hypertension) and low blood pressure, bad backs, osteoporosis and brittle bones, swallowing issues, fussy eaters not eating enough, gastroenteritis and stroke) on top of not able to care for themselves anymore and rely on others(often in-experienced staff) they often don't know well for help and care for them from Asia, Africa and other parts of the world who speak English well and have come to Australia for a better life or to study in the last few years with a visa. The residents' families trust us to look after them properly and it is nice to meet them when they do come and visit their families there. It would be so nice to see better pay, more staff training for the staff so they can do their jobs even better, be able to employ more staff so there isn't a shortage on certain days of the week and provide better working conditions for the staff working there, so there isn't a staff downturn and they stay longer. Most of them(carers and nurses) work so hard for long hours for a number of days until they are beyond exhausted. The residents, being elderly, vulnerable and frail also need proper, nutritious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner so they can live the last days of their lives at their nursing homes and not feel hungry all the time. Special dietary needs might be required(Gluten free, lactose free, thickened food and vegetarian for example) for some of the residents who have food allergies or poor swallowing or just prefer to eat vegetarian, lactose free or gluten free sorts of meals to eating meat or dairy. Medicine rounds are also required at certain times for certain health conditions. Nurses, a pharmacist, team leaders and other medical people are regularly there in-case of any emergency if any resident needs to go to the hospital or doctors or higher or lower doses of medication in order for them to keep well. This is my workplace at Goodwin Ainslie, Canberra.

Joanne Wilson said:

So many promises and explanations surrounding dementia. Am sick of it. Start doing the walking and be seen as doing something positive. Understanding the individual with dementia and the different stages associated with the disease a plan can be put in place. Speak with the carers and listen. Not one person will be the same nor require the same management. It’s not text book.

Carolyn Borci said:

Fully agree, my mother died recently aged 92, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia and we had to place her in aged care facility as we could no longer care for her in her own home even though she was assessed at the highest level of care. Unfortunately at the time there was no funding allocated for level four. When asked what we could do we were advised we would have to contact the assessment team and request they make her level 3. We did no my do that but continued providing care ourselves and started seeking respite care and a place on an aged care facility. She was not happy and fortunately only stayed there for 10 months; she passed away August 8th 2018!

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