Further Government Investment in Aged Care Welcomed

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Dementia Australia has welcomed the announcement this week by the Australian Government of an additional $132.2 million investment in its response to the Aged Care Royal Commission’s recommendations on COVID-19.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the acceptance of all six recommendations by the Morrison Government is a step in the right direction for all aged care residents and especially people living with dementia, their families and carers, however further dementia specific strategies will be required to address the devastating long term impact COVID-19 has had in our community.

“The continued financial support for providers to use additional payments to support residents with adequate visitation and communication arrangements is a positive step and will help reduce some of the disruption to many of these residents’ lives,” Ms McCabe said.

“Just last week, Dementia Australia released a discussion paper with 14 COVID-19 mental health related recommendations and calling for additional funding for all people living with dementia, families and carers.

“The additional funding arrangements ($35.5 million) permitting aged care residents to access up to 20 individual psychological therapy sessions where their general practitioner or psychiatrist determines they would clinically benefit from additional mental health support will help ensure aged care residents can have equal access to mental health support initiatives in the same way as people living in the community.

“The provision of an additional $15.7 million to Primary Health Networks to commission allied health group consultations with physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and/or occupational therapists for people living in COVID-19 affected residential aged care facilities will also benefit people living with dementia.

“Dementia Australia also supports the introduction of a range of measures to expand infection prevention and control processes in aged care homes.

“Dementia-specific care standards are very important for the two thirds of people in aged care facilities living with dementia and whilst additional investment is a positive step, further consideration will need to be factored into all future government financial support initiatives for aged care providers.

“Dementia Australia will be looking forward to working closely with the government following the handing down of the Royal Commission’s full report in February next year.”

The discussion paper is available here.

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 and the Helpline is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. The National Dementia Helpline is funded by the Australian Government. People looking for information can also visit dementia.org.au

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Media contacts: Barry Wallett, 0411 278 612, [email protected]

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