It is vital to enhance the interface between health and aged care to improve support services for people with dementia, according to a report released this week.
The report to government also calls for aged care providers to consider social design principles to make residential facilities more accessible and help community clients forward plan to improve their transition into residential care.
The KPMG report, which was completed in March and released by Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt yesterday, is based on the feedback of participants of the December 2016 Ministerial Dementia Forum.
The aim of the forum was to consider the redesign of dementia support services and seek feedback on the consumer journey, the structure of support programs and how to improve the journey and increase the reach and sustainability of programs.
Participants reported it was vital to improve the interface between health and aged care to address the lack of primary and medical care in residential facilities and identified opportunities in policy and teaching.
While the Commonwealth Government had a policy to drive collaboration between acute and primary care via the local hospital and primary health networks, it had no agenda to link in aged care, the report said.
It called for a model that promoted significant collaboration between the three sectors to make transitions easier for consumers along with more accessible specialist and GP medical care in aged care settings.
Participants also reported there should be a structured approach to teaching in aged care that included formal relationships between providers and tertiary institutions rather than the current ad-hoc approach.
Aged care’s role
Elsewhere, it said forward planning by both individuals and their care providers in the community was needed to make the “fundamentally difficult” transition into residential aged care as easy as possible.
Participants said that the transition into residential care was also hindered by the physical design of facilities.
“They are often behind large walls, creating fear and reducing integration into the community. Operators should consider social design principles to make them more accessible to people,” the report said.
Minister Wyatt said the report would contribute to the current redesign of dementia support, which aimed to make accessing services easier.
“The overwhelming message from the forum was that effective and accessible dementia support must be closely integrated with the broader aged care, health and social service systems,” Minister Wyatt said.
“To get this right, we need to link the range of existing services and communicate with people living with dementia and their families on the options available to them.”
Consultations for the redesign will continue into the second half of this year.
Current services offered by Alzheimer’s Australia through the National Dementia Support Program will continue during the process.
The revised program is due to commence in July 2018.
Access the report here
Comment below to have your say on this story
Send us your news and tip-offs to email@example.com