Severe Dementia Patients Given $50 Million in Funding
5 February 2015 at 10:10 am
Not for Profit organisations have welcomed the Abbott Government’s announcement that it will spend more than $50 million to support people with severe dementia.
Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mitch Fifield, said yesterday that the Government would invest $54.5 over four years to establish the Severe Behaviour Response Teams.
It will replace the previous Labor Government’s Dementia Supplement, which the Abbott Government was widely criticised for abolishing in July last year after it said the program had exceeded it budget by 10-fold.
“Today the Abbott Government has delivered on its commitment to establish an alternative program to Labor’s bungled Dementia Supplement, announcing an initiative to expand support for aged care residents experiencing severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia,” Fifield said.
“Severe Behaviour Response Teams (SBRTs) will be a mobile workforce of clinical experts who will provide timely and expert advice to residential aged care providers that request assistance with addressing the needs of people with the most severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
“These teams of aged care experts will visit residents exhibiting extreme behaviours, assess the cause and advise care staff on how to best care for the resident.
“The first phase of the SBRTs is expected to commence nationally later this year, following a competitive tender process. The SBRTs will work closely with the existing Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Services in each state and territory.”
Fifield said a second phase would see the two programs integrated from 2016-17.
“Complementing this initiative, the Government will also conduct an analysis of existing dementia programs during the first half of 2015,” he said.
National Director of UnitingCare Australia, Lin Hatfield Dodds, said with one in four people aged 85 and over experiencing dementia the announcement from the Government was good news.
"This is a growing challenge and the Government is right to be trialling a new initiative to improve our capacity to care for this vulnerable group of people. It is a positive step forward both for the people who need specialised care and for the services doing their best to provide that care with limited resources,” Hatfield Dodds said.
"The Government has clearly heard and understood the concerns raised at the Dementia Forum. We are pleased that the Government has worked with the aged care sector to find solutions, and has continued to invest the $54.4 million specifically into this area.
"We also welcome the Government's announcement that they will conduct a more comprehensive review of existing dementia programmes. Today’s initiative is an important first step, but with the challenge of caring for people with severe symptoms of dementia growing, continued attention will be needed.
“We welcome the review and encourage the Government to give focus to this issue. We hope Australia can become a world leader in caring for people with dementia.”
According to the Abbott Government , the previous Dementia Supplement was budgeted at $11.7 million for the 2013-14 financial year but instead the cost in 2013-14 was $135 million.