A number of Dementia Advocates gathered alongside representatives from the aged care sector and government officials for the recent Dementia Australia Quality Dementia Care Roundtable.
During the event, participants discussed the critical issues surrounding care for people living with dementia, their families and carers.
The roundtable represented the second of three steps in Dementia Australia’s Quality Care Initiative. The purpose was to consult with key stakeholders across the sector on how to embed quality dementia care consistently across the aged care industry. The day was facilitated by Director of Dementia Australia’s Centre for Dementia Learning, Dr David Skyes.
A synopsis of the outcomes of the National Consumer Summit held by Dementia Australia earlier this year, plus the resultant Communique, Our Solution: Quality care for people living with dementia, were used to inform the proceedings.
Kaele Stokes, Executive Director, Advocacy & Research at Dementia Australia said it was a productive and fruitful day of discussion and commitment.
“The consensus in the room was that if you can get it right for dementia, you can get it right for everyone,” Ms Stokes said.
“Raising the quality of dementia care is broader than just developing specific services or stand-alone standards for dementia. There are a number of mechanisms through which we can embed the principles of quality dementia care, which means we can leverage existing infrastructure and initiatives across the sector.
“We’ll now be developing a clear action plan to consistently raise the quality of dementia care across the industry based on what was discussed at the roundtable. Some of the key stakeholders have signed on to be involved in the development of the action plan, which will then be circulated to the broader group with a request that they become champions in its implementation.”
Dementia Australia wishes to thank all attendees, including Dementia Advocates Phil Hazell, Tara McDonald and Ann Pietsch, and Prof John Pollaers OAM and Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson.
This third step and culmination of Dementia Australia’s Quality Care Initiative will be the Dementia Australia National Symposium 2020 – Dementia care is quality care, which is set to be held in Sydney on 24 March. You can find out more by clicking here.
The committees goals and objectives are well accepted and the general consensus in the room was that 'if you can get it right for dementia, you can get it right for everyone.' The practical requirements need to take as one of the highest priority, the feeding and toileting of patients in a timely manner. This is a key critical success factor from a carer perspective with many carers attending loved ones in facilities where they are regularly not fed, assisting other (non relatives) when meals left out of reach, patients not woken for meals, or not hydrated by nurses who state - 'they do not have time' and as a consequence the patients become dehydrated, malnourished and acquire bed sores.. For those that do not have relatives or carers - they simply fade away. Happy to discuss this as the Aged Care Commission was to be a wakeup call, however provision of staff numbers caring for wards of patients in many facilities are inadequate and in some cases supplies run out e.g. linen supplies. Often a patient with swallowing problems requires 20 minutes to feed in high care- 2 nurses in charge of 30 patients - how do you decide who misses out? There are no records of patient intake- hence this is an unknown when assessing if the patient should be provided with supplements or an IG feed. Many staff are untrained and commence a Cert 3 after they start work in some of the facilities. With a $400,000 to $500,000 bond - you would think patients or consumers should get the best care possible. We need secret visitors - similar to secret shoppers to 'out' some of the facilities. Some Facilities do it extremely well- where as others - not so!