Better Care for Australians with Dementia

Better Care for Australians with Dementia

26 June 2013

The Federal Labor Government will provide more funding to support Australians living with dementia, with a focus on better medication management in aged care.

A number of projects will receive funding through the $60 million second round of the Governments Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants Fund, which will deliver $378 million over four years.

Initiatives focused on better dementia support include:

  • Continuation of the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Services (DBMAS) including the National Coordination Network and National Helpline activities and the expansion of DBMAS into acute and primary care.
  • Flinders University in Adelaide will seek to build the capacity of residential aged care providers to deliver person centred care to people with dementia in aged care.
  • Alzheimers Australia will receive funding for the national roll-out of evidence based programs and services to benefit people with dementia, their families and carers.
  • The University of New South Wales will run a project which aims to reduce the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medication in aged care.
The University of Tasmania will deliver a project to reduce the inappropriate use of sedative medications in aged care.

Mr Butler said it was important that we continue to improve the support available to people with dementia, including best practice medication management in aged care.

Last year, I held meetings with leading health professionals and researchers to discuss options to improve care for people with dementia that exhibit challenging behaviours, Mr Butler said.

People want to ensure we have policies and tools for staff and aged care services that support good dementia practice and encourage the management of underlying causes and non-pharmacological strategies as first line treatment for people with dementia.

These new projects help us achieve that goal and build on work funded through the National Prescribing Service which includes the development of tools to assist aged care facilities to evaluate medication usage and provide support for prescribers and staff to manage complex medication regimens.

Weve also recently released the Guiding Principles for medication management in residential aged care facilities to help managers and staff to put into practice the quality use and safe management of medicines.

Mr Butler said the Federal Labor Government had taken up the challenge and was preparing for the immediate and future needs of people with dementia in Australia.

Today 298,000 Australians live with dementia and by 2050 that figure will have risen to more than 900,000 and this presents major challenges for health and aged care services, Mr Butler said.

We also know that dementia will be the leading cause of disability in less than 4 years so its critical that we help our service providers including aged care providers to take up the challenge now.

The Governments Living Longer Living Better aged care reform plan has a significant focus on dementia with $268 million to be invested to tackle the epidemic.

The plan includes a new Dementia Supplement in home and residential care, as well as improving hospital and primary care for people with dementia and reducing the time between symptoms and diagnosis.

These initiatives are all part of the Federal Labor Governments $3.7 billion Living Longer Living Better aged care reforms and I look forward to the passage of the underpinning legislation in the Senate in this sitting period, Mr Butler said.

A full list of shortlisted applicants can be found at the Department of Health and Ageing website.