Collaboration needed to make quality dementia care a reality

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This week’s Dementia Australia National Symposium Series 2020 – Dementia care is quality care highlighted the need for collaboration across the aged care sector in order to ensure quality dementia care is core business. 

Speaking at the second instalment of the Symposium Series, Swinburne University Chancellor and Leef Independent Living Solutions Executive Chairman Prof John Pollaers OAM began the session by urging attendees to take action. 

“I’m cognisant that everyone in the community is going through a difficult time right now and I want to ensure that comments made today are made in the spirit of moving forward,” said Prof Pollaers.

“It’s the way we band together across the aged care sector to solve these problems and make changes in the business that will make a difference.”

Other key themes that arose on the day included minimum dementia education requirements and how to actually put that education in to practice. 

Centre for Dementia Learning Director Dr David Sykes said the organisation is delivering virtual classrooms – interactive, engaging, online workshops where aged care professionals are not only provided very practical strategies, but actively encouraged to contribute and share knowledge from their practical experience. 

“Virtual classrooms are very hands on and participants engage and learn through actively contributing to the discussions and activities which are delivered via breakout rooms and the chat function,” Dr Sykes said.

“Feedback has been excellent and we have had interest across the country both in areas where face-to-face learning is still being delivered as well as in regions where this isn’t possible due to COVID-19.”

As another contribution to the aged care sector at this difficult time, a special discount is on offer for those that book any virtual classroom for up to 25 staff before 30 September. Learn more here.

Staffing ratios and skills mix were also a subject of discussion on the day, with holistic care planning discussed as a starting point for getting it right. “It’s important to recognise that different providers in the community will be operating at different levels,” Prof Pollaers said. 

“The absolute key is getting the community to understand the concept of holistic care planning – when you add up the different interventions in that care plan then you start to figure out how many staff are required.”

The Symposium is the third stage of the Dementia Australia Quality Care Initiative focused on raising the quality of dementia care.

The second was a National Stakeholder Roundtable that took place in Melbourne in November 2019. The result of the Roundtable was the Dementia Australia Quality Care Initiative Action Plan, designed to consistently raise the quality of dementia care across the industry. 

Prof Pollaers was Chair of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce which developed the report A Matter of Care: Australia’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy. He was involved in the Roundtable and the Dementia Australia Quality Care Initiative Action Plan is consciously aligned with the Matter of Care report.

“We have a plan of action, what is critical is that everyone here today doesn’t say, ‘okay job done’,” Prof Pollears said. 

“I do fundamentally believe in the power of the people – we have to stop these silos and start working together.”

Still to come in the Symposium Series are presentations from Dementia Advocates as well as Janet Anderson PSM, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner; Prof Dawn Brooker, Director of the University of Worcester Association for Dementia Studies UK; Dr Lisa Trigg, Assistant Director, Research, Data and Intelligence, Social Care Wales, UK; James Adonis, author and leadership educator; and Ita Buttrose AC OBE, Dementia Australia Ambassador and Chair ABC.

The free online series will be held weekly for six consecutive weeks beginning Tuesday 4 August. To learn more about the speakers and to register visit the Dementia Australia website here.


Dementia Australia is the national peak body and charity for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 459,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach almost 1.1 million by 2058. Dementia Australia’s services are supported by the Australian Government.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

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(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)

Dementia is a National Health Priority Area                                                                      

Media contacts: Gabrielle Prabhu, Media & Communications Manager, 0447 253 583, [email protected] / Sarah Richards, Media & Communications Advisor, 0448 341 628, [email protected]   

When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines.