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Extra $44 million for dementia initiatives

The Federal Government announced an extra $44 million to extend national dementia programs covering training, support, education, and services for people living with dementia on Tuesday.

Dementia Support Australia has welcomed the announcement from Minister Colbeck about the extension of funding for their services. [Source: iStock]
Dementia Support Australia has welcomed the announcement from Minister Colbeck about the extension of funding for their services. [Source: iStock]

Dementia education and training association, Dementia Training Australia, and dementia support service, Dementia Support Australia, will be receiving the $44 million to extend their national programs from July 2021 to June 2022.

This funding will go towards the Dementia Training Program (DTP), Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS), Severe Behaviour Response Teams (SBRT), and Needs Based Assessment (NBA), which is a component of the Specialist Dementia Care Program.

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, says these programs improve the care people living with dementia receive.

"The programs deliver support and advice, including clinical support, assessments, recommendations for care interventions, mentoring, and capacity building, to family and informal carers, primary and acute care staff, and aged care service providers," says Minister Colbeck.

"They also provide accredited education, upskilling, and professional development in dementia care for health and care workers, [General Practitioners], nurses, and allied health professionals.

"These programs have delivered great outcomes and significant clinical improvements in recent years.

"They have improved the quality of care delivered by thousands of health professionals and care workers to people living with dementia. Dementia Support Australia alone has delivered services to nearly 80 percent of aged care homes across Australia since 2016."

These programs are still able to receive Government funding beyond this recently announced grant agreement extension.

Minister Colbeck adds that the Final Report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, due late February, will inform the program delivering after 30 June 2022.

Dementia Support Australia has welcomed the announcement from Minister Colbeck about the extension of funding for their services.

Professor Colm Cunningham, Director of The Dementia Centre from HammondCare, the organisation behind Dementia Support Australia, says this will assist the DSA in improving the quality of life for people living with dementia and their carers.

"DSA services provided through our Severe Behaviour Response Teams (SRBT) and the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) have experienced a sustained rise in referrals in 2020 as residents living with dementia in aged care homes experienced increased stress from COVID-19 lockdowns and prolonged isolation from loved ones," says Professor Cunningham.

"The extended funding will allow us to increase our service delivery with more frontline staff to deliver more case management where it’s needed.

"Since beginning nationwide services in 2016, DSA consultants have visited more than 70 percent of care homes and addressed the needs of 20,000 clients living with dementia. In 90 percent of cases, clients were discharged due to referral goals being met, usually with no significant increase in prescribed antipsychotics."

DSA provides nationwide 24/7 services that support people living with dementia experiencing behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia and those who care for them.

Previously, the Federal Government invested in these programs in the 2020-21 Budget, providing $11.3 million to the DBMAS and SBRT programs.

The Government has recognised dementia as one of the biggest health challenges Australia has to face, with an estimated 459,000 Australians living with the disease in 2020.

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