Dementia Australia: Time to implement quality care is now

DEMENTIA Australia believes the final report by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is a once in a generation opportunity to transform dementia care and the aged care system overall.

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The final report is due to be handed to the Federal Government on 26 February.

The organisation described the handing over of the final report as a “defining moment for all Australians.”

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said they expected the Federal Government and the sector to commit to significant investment and transformation “that will make a profound difference to the experiences of people affected by dementia – now and for generations to come.”

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Thousands of people of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers shared their personal – and sometimes very traumatic and confronting experiences – with the Royal Commission as witnesses, through submissions, by attending roundtables and community forums since September 2018.

Grahame Smith, who is living with dementia, said he would love to see the adoption of all the Royal Commission’s recommendations – and not just the easy ones.

Mr Smith said adequate funding was needed so enough of the right staff in the sector could be employed.

“Quality dementia care is important because those living in aged care homes are the most vulnerable. It is vital those who can’t speak for themselves are cared for with compassion and understanding.”

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Nell Hawe, also living with dementia, hoped the future of aged care in Australia would be one of “quality holistic person-centred care by suitably trained staff to those people living with dementia and others using aged care, their carers and families.”

Long-term family carer and Dementia Australia Honouree, Anne Fairhall urged government to be ready to demonstrate swift action and rebuild the aged care system and enable it to deliver quality consistent care for all Australians “as I am sure will be recommended in the Royal Commission Report.”

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Ms McCabe said Dementia Australia would champion the voices of their consumers and advocate for change.

Some of the challenges and solutions identified by Dementia Australia include:

• A roadmap for sector transformation, that tracks and measures the impact of reform
• An integrated service and support pathway that ensures people with dementia, their families and carers receive the support they need 
• A workforce that has the skill and capacity to support people impacted by dementia
• Physical environments that are enabling and promote independence and autonomy. 

“We are already working with the Government advocating for these improvements,” Ms McCabe said.

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“With almost half a million Australians living with dementia and with this figure projected to increase to 1.1-million people by 2058, now is the time to act.”

She said getting quality care right for those who need it will have a profound and lasting impact for all – systematically, economically and as a human right.

“It is our responsibility as a society to provide appropriate care for those who are most vulnerable.”

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