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Calls for solutions-based approach to Royal Commission into aged care

Dementia Australia has called for “urgent action” to address challenges in the aged care system

Dementia Australia has called for a solutions-based approach to the Royal Commission into aged care to improve the health and care outcomes for those living with dementia.

The Royal Commission, announced by Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt, will primarily look at the quality of both residential and home aged care, including how young Australians with disabilities are cared for in residential facilities.

Maree McCabe, CEO of Dementia Australia, said a Royal Commission will be an opportunity to elevate the focus on the aged care system, identify challenges and provide direction on mapping out what needs to be done to meet the growing needs of our ageing population.

“Whilst there are many providers committed to providing high quality care it is evident there are systemic 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,” McCabe 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.”

There are currently over 400,000 people living with dementia in Australia, with the number expected to increase to over 1 million by 2056 unless there is a significant medical breakthrough.

“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,” McCabe said.

“We are 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,” McCabe continued.

According to the advocacy group, dementia has risen rapidly as a cause of death and is now the number one cause of death for women, surpassing heart disease which had held the number one spot for the majority of the 20th century.

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has acknowledged he expects the royal commission to uncover confronting information.

“We should brace ourselves for some pretty bruising information about the way our loved ones, some of them have experienced some real mistreatment,” he said.

“That’s going to be tough for us to deal with, but you can’t walk past it.”


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