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Community input to make an impact on dementia care

Input from the community on how to best implement new Specialist Dementia Care Units (SDCUs) for people living with severe behaviours associated with advanced dementia is being sought by the Federal Government as part of an election promise.

Consultation is now open until 21 January 2018 (Source: Shutterstock)

The establishment of the units was a 2016 election promise by the Turnbull Government as part of their comprehensive strategy for dementia care and treatment following the prediction that one million Australians could be affected by dementia by 2050.

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt says the SDCU feedback would inform the Government on the final shape of the initiative, including funding and administrative options.

“We want to hear from individuals and organisations who have knowledge about or experience of dementia, especially an understanding of the needs and care for people with very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD),” Minister Wyatt says.

“This may include aged care workers, health professionals, academics, peak body representatives, policy makers, people with dementia, and their families and carers.”

He adds that once the preferred model of care and administrative arrangements are decided by Government, there will be further targeted consultation with stakeholders on detailed implementation and transition strategies.

“These units will make up the third tier of the innovative plan we have been rolling out across the nation, building on the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service and the Severe Behaviour Response Teams,” he explains.

“It’s proposed that SDCUs could operate as small units, comprising eight to 12 beds, within larger residential aged care facilities.

“They will provide a person-centred, multidisciplinary approach to care for people with very severe BPSD who are unable to be appropriately cared for by mainstream aged care services.

“These units will offer specialised, transitional residential support, focussing on reducing or stabilising symptoms over time, with the aim of enabling the person to move into a less intensive care setting.”

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dementia Australia Maree McCabe says the peak body welcomes the government’s invitation for the community to be involved in the consultation of the SDCU’s.

“This is an important issue for people living with dementia, their families and carers and we are pleased to see that the government are having open and transparent discussions on the issue,” she says.

“We encourage the community to participate through the Department of Health’s online Consultation Hub.

“As the peak body representing all people impacted by dementia we have already consulted our consumers and provided feedback to the department - and we will continue to do so.”

Minister Wyatt says the Government is focussed on tackling dementia through partnerships and innovation, including a $200 million investment in world-class dementia research, as well as improved dementia care which has been implemented over the past two years as well as a nationally consistent Dementia Training Program for the aged care and health workforce.

Stakeholders wanting to provide feedback on the SDCU initiative can visit the Department of Health’s Consultation Hub to read the paper and make a submission.

Respondents can provide input on some, or all, of the topics and questions in the consultation paper.

Feedback can be submitted until 21 January 2018.

For more information and assistance, contact


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