Dementia Australia is actively involved in advocating for change, for better care, treatments and supports for the 353,800 Australians currently living with dementia, their carers and families.
One way we achieve change is by ensuring the voices of those living with dementia are included in conversations about policy and legislative changes which will affect them.
Below are some of the submissions Dementia Australia has made recently to ensure that the voices of people living with dementia are heard and any changes made have a lasting and positive impact on the lives of people living with dementia.
The Bill looks at changes to the aged care pension, which would impact the period of time a recipient can spend overseas before their aged care pension is impacted. The Bill is looking to reduce the current length of time, from 26 weeks down to six weeks. Pensioners, who have spent less than 35 years of their working life in Australia, will find their pensions reduced after six weeks of overseas travel.
Our submission notes this change would impact pensioners and people with dementia from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, who may reside overseas for extended periods of time as they rely on extended family networks to provide appropriate care and support.
Consumers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are more likely to have immigrated and spent less than 35 years of their working lives in Australia. Consequently, they will be disproportionately affected by these changes.
We have urged the government to consider the unique need of this cohort and work with relevant organisations such as the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia (FECCA) and the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) in further understanding the issues for affected groups.
The standards of practice for GP’s are under review by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). Dementia Australia’s submission focusses on communication and care for an increasing number of people living with dementia in the community.
Dementia Australia emphasised the importance of ensuring that crucial services such as home visits and residential aged care visits are a core part of business for GP’s and highlighted the communication needs of people with dementia referring the College to Talk to Me and other dementia-friendly resources.
We have also asked that the standards require GPs to demonstrate they have taken appropriate measures to support medication adherence, particularly in the case of older patients with mild cognitive impairment and dementia who are prescribed multiple medications.
The purpose of the National Palliative Care Strategy evaluation is to assess the value and effectiveness of the strategy and to identify new and emerging priorities and opportunities for improving future palliative care. The evaluation provides an important opportunity and Dementia Australia’s submission has highlighted several areas for focus of the review: Advance Care Planning across all sectors (primary, acute, aged care), the roll out of an integrated care pathway across all sectors (primary, acute, aged care) and in particular, we have called for the further development of expertise and resources on grief and loss counselling for loved ones of people with dementia, and support for capacity building for service providers, particularly in the aged care sector.
Dementia Australia has highlighted the importance of ensuring that the consumer voice is at the forefront in developing health and medical research strategies. Meaningful consumer involvement in all aspects of health and medical research is vital, and Dementia Australia has urged the National Health and Medical Research Council structural review to consider ways in which consumer engagement can form a strong foundation for the NHMRC’s Grants Program going forward.
Visit Dementia Australia’s website for more information about the policy and advocacy work of Dementia Australia.