Bodies Servicing those with Dementia Now in Jeopardy

By Petrina Smith
Friday, 27 June, 2014

John KellyAged & Community Services Australia is growing increasingly concerned the Coalition Government will pull funding for aged care programs after it suddenly ceased funding the Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement.
Adj Prof John G Kelly AM, said the Government has ignored the reality of the needs of older Australians.
"There is a substantial body of residents in aged care with significant dementia-related behaviours," Professor Kelly said. "This supplement allowed better supported care for those people.
"The withdrawal of funding ignores the problems faced by providers and their staff. Services that were funded to help these residents are now in jeopardy, much to the despair of staff and families.
"This action by the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Fifield, does not send a good message to the community, where government does not dialogue with the sector sufficiently to develop a solution.
"It is convenient to flick an issue past the Aged Care Sector Committee and say there has been consultation, when there has been no real attempt to forge a clear path where people will be supported properly, despite the blow-out being apparent for some time.
"Providers reacted nervously to the announcement on Wednesday that the Government was finalising the Aged Care Accommodation Supplement when Minister Fifield referenced the blow-out in the dementia supplement and said 'We are seeking to avoid a repeat of this situation'.
"I received many calls from providers wondering if this was a sign of how things would be done in the future.
"Unfortunately we had to wait less than 24 hours to find out that the reforms of the previous government are under threat to save the Budget bottom line.
"ACSA believes there is a significant need for additional support for people with severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. A number of aged care providers were in receipt of this funding and it allowed those who had a cluster of residents eligible for the Dementia Supplement to recruit specialist dementia staff who could provide the best of care for these residents."

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