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Discovering how to meet consumer needs in dementia care

“Since my diagnosis of Fronto Temperal Dementia some years ago, I have come to see that the concept of choice in my care path is an illusion,” wrote Dennis Frost, Inaugural Chair a Southern Dementia Advisory Group in a recent blog post about choice and living with dementia.

It’s time for aged care providers to invest in providing specialised dementia services (Source: Shutterstock)
It’s time for aged care providers to invest in providing specialised dementia services (Source: Shutterstock)

Whilst Mr Frost says that he has found the medical professionals he interacts with to be very good and caring individuals who take time to listen and adjust their procedures to suit, he is also of the opinion that much of our traditional health and care system is based on a model where medical professionals know best and where no questions are allowed without notice.

“The understanding of the complexity and realities of dementia that these ‘professionals’ have is not only wrong but dangerous,” Mr Frost says.

He goes on to describe a visit to a nurse who denied his dementia was relevant to her treatment regime, telling Mr Frost he was wasting her time and placing obstacles in her path. “I left, having gone into the appointment optimistically, I came out suicidal,” he writes.

There are currently more than 413,106 Australians living with dementia and by 2025 the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to 536,164.

With these growing numbers it is crucial that health care professionals have the capacity to provide specialised dementia services.

The government is investing over $34 million into research and innovation for dementia and aged care services and it’s time for aged care providers to get ready, with a skilled workforce and a person centred organisational structure to support and empower people living with dementia.

Later this month, Council on the Ageing (COTA), together with Criterion Conferences is presenting the Strengthening Dementia Strategy conference, exploring the concept of choice and control for people living with dementia and offering solutions to engage and support aged care providers for best practice dementia care.

The conference will teach delegates about how to develop an organisational dementia strategy, engage and support staff for best practice dementia care and ultimately improve the quality of life for people living with dementia.

“Looking at the options that will likely be available for my care in the future, I see none,” Mr Frost says.

“How can things be improved?” he continues. “You have asked for our voice, now you need to listen.”

Attend the 'Strengthening Dementia Strategy' conference to hear best practice from government agencies, not for profits and leading aged care providers across the sector.

Dennis Frost will be speaking at the Strengthening Dementia Strategy conference, held in Sydney on 30 and 31 May 2017.

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