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Dementia Australia today called for all parties and election candidates to pledge to embed dementia-friendly principles and dementia education into the health and aged care systems.
Dementia Australia Chief Operating Officer, Anthony Boffa said with the growing prevalence of dementia and urgent need to increase the numbers of health and aged care workers, it was crucial for the next state government to commit to implementing state-wide programs that will improve the quality of life of people living with dementia, their families and carers, now and into the future.
“In 2022, it is estimated that 124, 700 people are living with dementia in Victoria. Without a medical breakthrough, this number is expected to increase to an estimated 301, 000 people by 2058,” Mr Boffa said.
“Our system needs to not only better meet current need but be ready for this projected increased demand.
“We’re calling for all public sector residential aged care homes to be reviewed to ensure they meet dementia-friendly design principles and to ensure dementia-friendly design principles are an integral part of the development process from concept through to design and construction.”
An enabling care environment can help maintain a person’s abilities, increase independence and provide meaningful engagement. Creating a supportive environment reduces risk and helps maintain a sense of wellbeing for people living with dementia. Dementia-friendly design principles can be applied to existing care environments or to new ones.
“People living with dementia can experience their surroundings as confusing, disorienting and, at worst, disabling and even dangerous,” Mr Boffa said.
“Dementia Australia is ready to work with the next government to ensure all public aged care homes in Victoria are the benchmark for quality in dementia-friendly design.”
In addition to design, the quality of care must be present within all these homes and also in hospitals where people with dementia are two times more likely to experience falls, pressure injuries or infections in hospital.
“To ensure people of all ages living with all forms of dementia receive the quality care they deserve, dementia education for all staff is essential,” Mr Boffa said.
“Having staff with appropriate levels of dementia education leads to fewer high-risk incidents, lower rates of inappropriate use of medication and more positive staff attitudes and morale, which ultimately results in better service delivery and quality of life for people living with dementia – in aged care homes and hospital settings.
“The sooner the whole health and aged care workforce is accessing appropriate dementia care education the sooner we will begin to see the changes needed to improve the health, lifestyle and care outcomes for people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers.”
Dementia Australia will be talking to all parties and the next government in preparation for the 2023 Victorian Budget and is calling for a commitment to embed dementia education programs into staff inductions and ongoing professional development programs across the health and aged care systems, incorporating:
- EDIE (Educational Dementia Immersive Experience), an immersive three-hour workshop that enables participants to see the world through the eyes of a person living with dementia, utilising high quality virtual reality technology. The workshop enhances users’ knowledge of dementia whilst exploring supportive approaches to enable a person to live more confidently with dementia;
- Talk with Ted, an artificially Intelligent (AI) Avatar with symptoms of dementia. Users engage in a virtual conversation with Ted and practise their communication skills; and
- Ask Annie, a mobile app with self-paced microlearning options and practical tips and strategies to better support people living with dementia for all who care for people living with dementia.
In addition to state-focused commitments, Dementia Australia is also calling for all parties and the next government to commit to and support the National Dementia Action Plan (NDAP) consultation process and to continue engagement with the federal government to develop, finalise and implement the NDAP.
“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,” Mr Boffa said.
For more information about the Centre for Dementia Learning programs visit: https://dementialearning.org.au/
Dementia Australia is the source of trusted 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. We advocate for positive change and support vital research. We are here to support people impacted by dementia, and to enable them to live as well as possible. No matter how you are impacted by dementia or who you are, we are here for you.
For support, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500. An interpreter service is available. The National Dementia Helpline is funded by the Australian Government. People looking for information can also visit dementia.org.au
Media contact: David Edghill, Government and Media Relations Advisor, 0482 163 156 or David.Edghill@dementia.org.au
When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines.
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