ATTENTION NEEDED: Dementia Australia is pointing to huge problems with aged care without Federal Government intervention.
ATTENTION NEEDED: Dementia Australia is pointing to huge problems with aged care without Federal Government intervention. Bev Lacey

Dementia statistics show care crisis coming fast

IT'S been almost one year to the day since Alzheimers Australia delivered shock news about the rates of dementia afflicting Coffs Harbour.

The organisation revealed around 1,713 residents were suffering from dementia and the number is predicted to soar to an estimated 3,851 by 2050.

Those figures compiled with assistance from Deloitte Access Economics showed a staggering increase of 356 diagnoses in a year, indicative of how great the problem is becoming Australia wide.

Particularly in the area of strengthening the quality and performance of residential aged care services.

Dementia Australia has made 15 recommendations in its submission to the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport's Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia.

Chief executive Maree McCabe said Dementia Australia is calling on the Federal Government to strengthen compliance and complaint processes, extend mandatory reporting requirements and credentialing, and increase access for consumers to consistent information about the accreditation, quality and performance of residential aged care services.

Other improvements include an increase in consumer consultation, nationally consistent training for staff in dementia care and readily available information on practices such as the use of restraints or psychotropic medications in residential care homes.

"As the prevalence of dementia increases in our community, it is critical that all aged care services are well-equipped and supported to provide safe, high-quality care for people living with dementia as part of their core business,” Ms McCabe said.

"Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and the leading cause of death among women.

"More than half of all people in residential aged care have a diagnosis of dementia and the cost of dementia to the Australian economy was significant and growing rapidly.

"Consumer and provider experience is telling us there are still significant steps that need to be taken for quality dementia care and support to become an intrinsic part of the aged care system.

"We need a renewed and sustained focus on dementia right now for the hundreds and thousands of Australia impacted by this disease every day and to prepare for what we, as a community, will face in the future.”



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