Aged-care solutions call

Dementia Australia has called for a solutions-based approach to the royal commission into aged care, to identify a clear path forward to improving the health and care outcomes for the more than 425,000 people living with dementia in Australia.

Maree McCabe, CEO of Dementia Australia, says that after a number of reviews, a royal commission will be an opportunity to elevate the focus on the aged-care system, identify the challenges and provide direction on mapping out what needs to be done to meet the growing needs of our ageing population.

“While there are many providers committed to providing high-quality care, it is evident there are systematic deficiencies and challenges now in staffing, education and in the capacity to provide the quality of care people living with dementia and all people accessing aged-care services deserve,” she said.

“Urgent action is needed to address these challenges for all those accessing the system now and to plan for the increased demand to come.

“Dementia Australia has long called for the introduction of quality standards around dementia, increased dementia training levels and qualifications, and a funding framework to support these initiatives.”

Unless there is a major medical breakthrough, it is estimated around 1.1 million people in Australia will be living with dementia within 40 years, Ms McCabe says.

“We’re particularly pleased to see that the inquiry will span home and residential care and include a focus on people of all ages living with dementia, particularly the 26,000 people diagnosed under the age of 65 living with younger-onset dementia,” she said.

“With 70 per cent of people living with dementia residing in the community and around 50 per cent of those in residential care living with dementia, this royal commission will elevate the focus on the aged-care system as a whole.”