DEMENTIA CARE: You are invited to speak up about dementia management strategies.
DEMENTIA CARE: You are invited to speak up about dementia management strategies.

Government is seeking community input to dementia care

COMMUNITY opinion is being sought by the Federal Government on how to implement the new Specialist Dementia Care Units for people living with severe behaviours associated with advanced dementia.

A staggering 350,000 Australians are already living with dementia. Those numbers are expected to increase as Australia's ageing population numbers also increase. 

The SDCUs are being established as part of the government's strategy for dementia care and treatment. 

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said, "These units will make up the third tier of the innovative plan we have been rolling out across the nation, building on the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service and the Severe Behaviour Response Teams."

The Minister said the SDCU feedback would provide the government with advice for the final shape of the initiative, including funding and administrative options.

"We want to hear from individuals and organisations who have knowledge about or experience of dementia, especially an understanding of the needs and care for people with very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia," Mr Wyatt said. 

"This may include aged care workers, health professionals, academics, peak body representatives, policy makers, people with dementia, and their families and carers."

Once the preferred model of care and administrative arrangements are decided by the government, it has committed to further targeted consultation with stakeholders on detailed implementation and transition strategies.

"It's proposed that SDCUs could operate as small units, comprising eight to 12 beds, within larger residential aged care facilities," Mr Wyatt said.

"They will provide a person-centred, multidisciplinary approach to care for people with very severe BPSD who are unable to be appropriately cared for by mainstream aged care services. 

"The units will offer specialised, transitional residential support, focussing on reducing or stabilising symptoms over time, with the aim of enabling the person to move into a less intensive care setting."

Mr Wyatt said it was projected that around one million Australians could be affected by dementia by 2050.

"The Turnbull Government is focussed on tackling dementia, through partnerships and innovation, including a $200 million investment in world-class dementia research," he said.

"We have also implemented improved dementia care over the past two years, including consolidating a single, nationally consistent Dementia Training Program for the aged care and health workforce."

Feedback can be lodged on the Department of Health's Consultation Hub. Anyone encountering difficulties in using the hub can email dementia@health.gov.au.

The consultation period closes on 21 January 2018.


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