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Monday, August 15, 2022

Dementia Australia CEO commends Government on aged care reform progress, highlights dementia-specific priorities

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Dementia Australia have welcomed the Federal Government’s swift action in prioritising aged care in the first week of the new parliament.

Maree McCabe AM, Dementia Australia CEO, said she and her colleagues are looking forward to working with the Albanese Government to implement these and other measures that support dementia including targeted education.

“Dementia education is a priority and needs to be embedded of the urgent solutions to the current aged care workforce crisis and as a long-term solution.

“All registered nurses, all new care staff and all those currently working in the aged care system must have a minimum level of dementia care education, as recommended by the Royal Commission almost 18 months ago.

“This is critical to deliver the impact needed to raise the quality of care for all those living with dementia.”

With the persisting workforce crisis in mind, Dementia Australia has recommended a number of short, medium and long-term solutions to the new Federal Government.

These include encouraging all care workers to download the Ask Annie mobile app, an on-the-go source of training for aged care workers.

The first three introductory modules are free and include 22 lessons with information and strategies to help aged care workers support people living with dementia.

“We know 70 per cent of people in residential aged care have moderate to severe cognitive impairment and we know 65 per cent of the almost half a million Australians with dementia are living in the community,” McCabe said.

“People living with dementia deserve to receive quality dementia care by appropriately trained staff – even in the midst of the pandemic.”

In a May position statement, Dementia Education and the Residential Aged Care Workforce, Dementia Australia highlights the key benefits of improved dementia-care training.

“Dementia education leads to fewer high-risk incidents, lower rates of medication administration and more positive staff attitudes and morale, which ultimately results in better service delivery and quality of life for people living with dementia,” McCabe said.

 “We know through multiple surveys of the aged care workforce that aged care staff want ongoing, comprehensive dementia education.”

McCabe said that she believes the Government is genuinely committed to reform and looks forward to further collaboration over the coming years.

“We will work with government to build the capacity of our workforce to better support people living with dementia, their families and carers.

“We look forward to working together to make a difference to the lives of every Australian impacted by dementia.”

McCabe invited aged care workers to contact Dementia Australia for personalised support via their National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or online via this link.

“This helpline provides information, support and strategies to better care for someone living with dementia in their care,” McCabe said.

Dementia Australia is Australia’s key advocacy body providing information, education and services for the estimated half a million Australians living with dementia, and the almost 1.6 million people involved in their care. 

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