Continuing to improve our aged care system a priority

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The strengthening of compliance and complaint processes, as well as more information about the quality and performance of residential aged care services are among changes that would see further improvements to the aged care system, Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said today.

Dementia Australia has made 15 recommendations in its submission to the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport’s Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia.

Submissions to the inquiry closed this week, with Dementia Australia calling on the Federal Government to strengthen compliance and complaint processes, extend mandatory reporting requirements and credentialing, and increase access for consumers to consistent information about the accreditation, quality and performance of residential aged care services.

Other improvements include an increase in consumer consultation, nationally consistent training for staff in dementia care and readily available information on practices such as the use of restraints or psychotropic medications in residential care homes.

Ms McCabe said the Australian aged care system was generally considered by stakeholders and international peers as providing high quality services. However, reports by people with dementia, their families and carers highlight the need to continue to improve the quality of care for people living with dementia in residential and community aged care.

“As the prevalence of dementia increases in our community, it is critical that all aged care services are well-equipped and supported to provide safe, high-quality care for people living with dementia as part of their core business,” she said.

Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and the leading cause of death among women.1There are more than 425,000 Australians living with dementia and without a medical breakthrough, the number of people living with dementia is expected to increase to 1.1 million in 2056.More than half of all people in residential aged care have a diagnosis of dementia.2

Ms McCabe said the cost of dementia to the Australian economy was significant and growing rapidly with dementia expected to cost more than $15 billion in 2018 and $36.8 billion in 2056.2

“Health, aged care and disability service reforms over recent years have been increasingly based on the belief that supporting people impacted by dementia should be part of core business for service providers,” she said.

“However there is more to do before this can become a reality, with consumer and provider experience telling us that there are still significant steps that need to be taken for quality dementia care and support to become an intrinsic part of the aged care system.

“We need a renewed and sustained focus on dementia right now for the hundreds and thousands of Australia impacted by this disease every day and to prepare for what we, as a community, will face in the future.”


The submission is available here.


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017) Causes of Death, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 3303.0)

[2] The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling NATSEM (2016) Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056

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 436,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach almost 1.1 million by 2058. Dementia Australia is the new voice of Alzheimer’s Australia. Dementia Australia’s services are supported by the Australian Government.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

Interpreter service available

(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)

Dementia is a National Health Priority Area

Media contacts: Anna Townend (M) 0435 532 214 or [email protected]

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