" We need national investment to drive a co-ordinated approach from prevention through to cure. "
Budget shortfall for dementia

May’s Federal Budget contains no new major policies or programs that would significantly improve the lives of the more than 353,000 Australian’s living with dementia and their carers.

“At a time when dementia is the second leading cause of death and is projected to affect almost a million people by 2050 with significant economic and social costs to Australia, we need national investment to drive a co-ordinated approach from prevention through to cure,” Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said.

“Perhaps the most positive outcome of this Budget for people living with dementia is the continued support for dementia specific flexible funding. This will enable some evidence based improvements in dementia support which is much needed.”

Alzheimer’s Australia also welcomed:

  1. Enhancements to the MyAgedCare contact centre ($136.6m over 4 years). Alzheimer’s Australia has advocated strongly for improvements to the ‘one stop shop’ that provides a gateway to aged care services and support for informed decision making.
  2. A commitment to further developing consumer experience and quality of life measures in residential and home care services. One of the most important issues for people living with dementia and their families is the quality of aged care services. The need for at least one publicly reported measure of quality in aged care is a high priority. Measures of quality will generate more confidence in the aged care service system and provide information on which consumers can base decisions about their services and providers. It is essential that these tools are co-designed with consumers and carers to ensure that services are meeting their needs
  3. Continued unannounced compliance site visits ($10.1m). Unannounced visits are an important component of generating community confidence that residential aged care services are safe and compliant with the accreditation framework.

The concerning feature of the Budget is the cut of $1.2b over four years to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI).

“While the Government may have had little choice but to cut ACFI due to projections of unsustainable expenditure in aged care, this budget decision suggests the funding tool is flawed and needs an overhaul to ensure it leads to quality outcomes,” Ms Bennett said.

“The current model does not reward the very things that promote quality of life especially for people with dementia.

“While this Budget provides no new funding for dementia, we remain hopeful that initiatives in the pipeline, including the funding of the National Institute for Dementia Research and the Medical Research Future Fund, will provide the hope for those living with dementia and their carers that they so desperately seek.”

 Posted: May 5th, 2016

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