Dementia Forgotten in Budget Funding
12 May 2011 at 12:51 pm
Alzheimer’s Australia says it’s disappointed that dementia has not featured as a priority for funding in the Federal Budget.
The national Not for Profit points to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) that shows that 53% of the 221,500 people living in government subsidised residential care in 2008-09 had a medical diagnosis of dementia and that these residents require a higher level of care.
The report was commissioned by the Department of Health and Ageing and comes just weeks before the Productivity Commission hands down its final report and recommendations on the future of Australian aged care and comes just days after the Federal Budget.
According to Alzheimer’s Australia CEO, Glenn Rees, the report demonstrates that caring for people with dementia is core business in residential aged care and it is disappointing that there has been no Budget response to the dementia epidemic with funding priority given to mental health and cancer.
He says there needs to be a more strategic approach to dementia across health departments and government that treats dementia as a chronic disease requiring investment in a number of areas including research.
Rees says so far there is no sign of a comprehensive approach to dementia or a sea-change in thinking.
The AIHW report says that almost 50% of residents with dementia required the highest levels of care for activities of daily living (ADLs) compared with about 27% of residents without a diagnosis of dementia. Almost 60% of residents with dementia had high needs of assistance in behaviour compared to less than 20% of other residents.
Rees says the draft report of the Productivity Commission recommended the establishment of a new agency to act as a clearing house of aged care data.
He says given the skills and expertise in dealing with aged care data, he strongly believes that this function should be assigned to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The AIHW report can be downloaded from the AIHW website: www.aihw.gov.au.