The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has described a new initiative to assist and support people in nursing homes living with Dementia as a “step in the right direction” but says the Abbott Government must do more to ensure elderly vulnerable Australians receive quality care.
The $54.5 million package over four years utilises redirected funding from the previous Dementia Supplement scrapped by the Abbott Government last year.
ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas, said the creation of “Severe Behaviour Response Teams” would help treat many Australians living with Dementia but called on the Government to provide more detail on how the scheme would work.
“With the number of Dementia cases set to increase to almost 1 million people by 2050, the ANMF and our members call on the Government to look at new ways of assisting some of the most vulnerable people living in aged care facilities as well as their families,” Ms Thomas said today.
“The announcement that teams of clinical experts will treat people with extreme behavioural and psychological symptoms is a step in right direction but the Government needs to do more right across the aged care sector, for patients and the nurses and carers that look after them every day.
“We understand that the Aged Care Sector Committee may be involved in the process of guiding the operational development of the teams, including their role and function. This process will be critical to ensure access and equity and ultimately, appropriate treatment for all affected Australians.
“There is still a lot more that needs to be done if the Government is to ensure that we can fund the treatment for the growing number of elderly Australians suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
“The ANMF continues to advise the Government that the key way to ensure quality care can be delivered to all people in nursing homes and those with extreme symptoms of Dementia, is to guarantee they will be cared for by qualified, skilled nurses and other health professionals.”
Ms Thomas said the Government must consult with the ANMF and other industry stakeholders as it reviews the national “co-ordination, integration and effectiveness” of existing Dementia programs.