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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

A year on from the royal commission a robust aged care system needed more than ever

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A year on since the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s Final Report: Care, Dignity and Respect and now into the third year of the pandemic, Dementia Australia has reiterated the need for a robust aged care system to provide quality care to people living with dementia.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the royal commission highlighted the deficiencies and complexities of the aged care system with the pandemic placing additional and ongoing pressures on the health and aged care systems.

“The ever-changing landscape and challenges of the pandemic have reinforced, more than ever, the need for these recommendations to be actioned,” McCabe said.

“Significant reform is already underway in response to the royal commission’s recommendations. 

“The Federal Government responded through an investment of $229.4 million in dementia that is providing the impetus for systemic change required in the aged care industry.

For the sector to deliver quality dementia care as a consistent and integral part of aged care, we must support our workforce, strengthen their knowledge and skills and develop practice leaders and mentors. 

Maree McCabe, CEO Dementia Australia

“The funding allocation to Dementia Australia is enabling the expansion of and increased access to services through the National Dementia Support Program like the National Dementia Helpline, counselling, post-diagnostic support programs, early intervention programs and education sessions.

“Reforms focusing on provider compliance and accountability to ensure stronger mechanisms for quality dementia care are welcomed. 

“Minimising restrictive practices, expanding quality indicators into home care, expanding the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) and the development of a new framework for regulating aged care and a new Aged Care Act will improve the system.” 

While the funding allocation was significant, Dementia Australia believes there is much to be done to fulfil on the recommendations of the royal commission.

Dementia Australia’s 2022-23 Federal Pre-Budget Submission calls for support of crucial initiatives to deliver quality care including compulsory dementia education for the aged care workforce and investment in education programs and tools.  

“We know from our work and broad consultation with people living with dementia, their families and carers, that if we get quality care right for people living with dementia then there will be quality care for all,” McCabe said.

“For the sector to deliver quality dementia care as a consistent and integral part of aged care, we must support our workforce, strengthen their knowledge and skills and develop practice leaders and mentors. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting significant challenges for the sector – together we must work to ensure better care for people living with dementia now and into the future.”

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