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Dementia Forum report calls for better integration across sectors

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

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One Response to Dementia Forum report calls for better integration across sectors

  1. Val Fell August 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

    With the ageing population , the increase in the prevalence of dementia and the use of CDCs it is essential the early intervention into the role of carers take place asap. I realise that the Key -worker younger-on-set dementia program is not economically possible for all those persons living with dementia. Therefore other projects to assist the increasing number of in-home 24/7 carers must be adopted. There should be an increase in the number of support groups , particularly in regional and rural areas , so that at the time of diagnosis a consumer can be directed by the GP or specialist to the nearest group . This way carers can be assisted by their peers in navigating the system of caring, obtaining resources and education.

    There are on-line courses for service providers and aged care workers but why not some for informal 24/7 carers. The current system ofcould assist with home visits seminars and conferences provides “translation of knowledge into practice ” for those in the workforce but because of lack of respite or geographical constraints carers are unable to attend such events.

    The development of a Buddy system with former carers as volunteers could lead to home visits and possibly ward off the feeling of isolation often experienced by persons with dementia and their carers.

    It is essential that changes to care programs start AT THE POINT OF DIAGNOSIS.

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