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Reality of residential dementia supplement axing

Some aged care providers will need to re-evaluate staffing models, programs and reconsider development plans as a result of the recent dramatic and sweeping cut to the Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement.
Bruce Mildenhall, Doutta Galla Aged Services chairman, says the axing reportedly represents an $800,000 cut to Doutta Galla Aged Services over a full year.
Bruce Mildenhall, Doutta Galla Aged Services chairman, says the axing reportedly represents an $800,000 cut to Doutta Galla Aged Services over a full year.

Victorian aged care provider, Doutta Galla Aged Services, is one of many organisations who remain shocked by the federal government’s surprise funding axe.

Mitch Fifield, federal Assistant Minister for Social Services, announced last month, reportedly without any notice, that the funding will cease to be paid from next Thursday.

The axing reportedly represents an $800,000 cut to Doutta Galla Aged Services over a full year.

“This is a shameful attack on vital health services to the most vulnerable members of our community,” Bruce Mildenhall, Doutta Galla Aged Services chairman, said.

“Without the supplement, we will have a shortfall of about $800,000 this year. With just five weeks notice, we now need to review staffing models, programs and reconsider development plans. Now it falls to us to tell our residents and their families. It’s heartbreaking.”

Doutta Galla, an independent, not for profit aged care service, based in  Victoria’s western suburbs, provides specialised dementia care to nearly 30% of its more than 500 residents.

“The funding supplement was specifically designed to fund services to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia,” Mr Mildenhall said.

“This supplement is essential to support the investment Doutta Galla has made in specialised dementia support units, trained staff and programs which assist our residents and their families to live well with the often devastating effects of dementia.

“With almost no notice, the funding for dementia has been withdrawn – it is as if, having underestimated demand for services and not put a sufficient budget in place, the federal government believes if it ignores the issue, it will go away,” he said.

It seems that poor modelling and a lack of commitment by the current government is driving this hasty decision, according to Mr Mildenhall.

The Dementia Supplement for Home Care Packages remains unchanged, and will not, as yet, be scrapped with the Dementia Supplement for residential care.

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