Dementia Australia is pleased to see the spotlight falling on home care.
Dementia Australia is pleased to see the spotlight falling on home care. Contributed

Lack of visibility in home care and dementia a major concern

DEMENTIA Australia has applauded the spotlight on home care at the Royal Commission into Aged Care Safety and Quality this week, saying it is long overdue.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the focus would instil confidence in all people impacted by dementia that their voices were being heard.

Ms McCabe said the lack of visibility and accountability around the home care system had been a concern reported by advocates and clients for many years.

"The lack of appropriate dementia knowledge and skills in the home care workforce, the lack of transparency and accountability with the system of home care packages - both in their allocation and management, and the high turnover of the mostly casual workforce are the issues raised repeatedly by carers and people living with dementia in the community,” Ms McCabe said.

"There is a distinct gap in data around how many people receiving care, or on waiting lists, are living with dementia.

"Evidence provided by workers during the course of the Royal Commission suggests that anywhere from one quarter to half of clients receiving home care have dementia but many do not receive a dementia supplement nor is their diagnosis necessarily recorded.”

With more people choosing to stay in their homes longer, Ms McCabe said the workforce needed to be appropriately trained to support people in the early stages of dementia as well as when symptoms progressed.

"Around 70 per cent of the 438,000 Australians living with dementia live in the community and tend to have much higher care needs than those who do not have dementia,” she said.

"Any organisation that takes on the care of a person living with dementia must commit to training their staff to ensure they are delivering quality dementia care in the home.

"We don't know the qualifications of the workforce going into people's homes, we don't know if they're equipped to provide the care needed by someone with the complex challenges dementia presents.”

Dementia Australia, through the Centre for Dementia Learning and its work as part of Dementia Training Australia, is one of the leading national providers of dementia education and consultancy to the sector.

"The issues around home care under scrutiny this week are yet another example that demonstrates how dementia is core business for the aged care industry yet not evidenced in practice,” Ms McCabe said.

"Aged care is complex and this Royal Commission is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the industry to make a profound and lasting difference to the lives of all people impacted by dementia.”

To read Dementia Australia's media comments and opinion editorials about the Royal Commission visit https://www.dementia.org.au/royal-commission.


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