Dementia supplement needs commitment

16/12/2014

Alzheimer’s Australia has expressed concern that money previously committed to replace the Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement has not been included in the forward-estimates of the Governments MYEFO statements announced yesterday.

According to Carol Bennett, CEO Alzheimer’s Australia, “the needs of people with dementia who have severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia require urgent attention. Often this group struggles to get access to the support and care services that they need.
 
“We urge the government to develop an alternative to the dementia supplement as a matter of high priority.”
 
It is noted in the fine print of Attachment A of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) that the government ‘is considering alternative arrangements’ to the dementia supplement, but no allocation of funding is provided.  
 
The dementia supplement was an essential component of the 2012 Aged Care Reforms, and was recognition of the fact that those with severe Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) do not have access to appropriate care.
 
In initial consultations with the government, concerns were raised about the need to provide high quality support and care to this group of consumers. However, the report on this consultation is yet to be made public, something that Alzheimer’s Australia would like to see occur.
 
Ms Bennett said, “we urge the government to release the report into the consultation with the sector around possible replacements for the supplement.”
 
Alzheimer’s Australia was pleased that other aspects of the 2012 Aged Care Reforms currently being rolled out, including the Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program, the Dementia Home Care Supplement and funding for primary and acute care initiatives seem to be unaffected by yesterday’s MYEFO announcement.
 
There are currently more than 332,000 Australians living with dementia and with these numbers set to soar to almost 900,000 by 2050, it is important that in funding residential care, the extra costs of caring for people with dementia are recognised and considered. 
 
Media enquiries:  Alex Nielsen 0407 232 212 / alex.nielsen@dementia.org.au