Govt seeks input to Specialist Dementia Care Units

Monday, 04 December, 2017

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The federal government is seeking community input on how to best implement planned new Specialist Dementia Care Units (SDCUs) for people living with severe behaviours associated with advanced dementia.

“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),” said Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt.

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

Minister Wyatt said establishment of the units was an election promise and part of the government’s comprehensive strategy for dementia care and treatment.

The Minister said the SDCU feedback would inform advice to government on the final shape of the initiative, including funding and administrative options.

“With an estimated 350,000 Australians already living with this condition, we understand the importance of doing everything we can to support improved dementia care, treatment and research,” he said.

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.

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

“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.

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

It is projected that around one million Australians could be affected by dementia by 2050.

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.

People encountering any difficulties using the Hub should email for assistance.

The consultation period closes on 21 January 2018.

Image credit: © F. Young

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