Better future for Australians with Alzheimer's

image - Time For Change

A panel of experts in the field of dementia care have called for an urgent national approach to the diagnosis and care of people with dementia given the critical shortage in Australia's dementia care workforce, following the finding of a new report launched on 12 November 2013 at the Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) Conference in Melbourne.

Stemming from a roundtable discussion between a team of leading health professionals from around the country chaired by CHeBA's Co-Director Professor Henry Brodaty, the report reveals barriers and potential solutions as part of a national approach to the diagnosis, treatment and care of Australians living with dementia.

Australian of the Year and National President of Alzheimer's Australia, Ita Buttrose, launched the report titled Collaborating for a better future for Australians living with Alzheimer's disease, released by Alzheimer's Australia and sponsored by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly Australia (Lilly).

Ms Buttrose said the report would provide valuable input to the development of a new National Action Framework on dementia by Australian health ministers.

"The report recognises that every individual with dementia is unique and that care services and support should respond to the needs of the particular individual," Ms Buttrose explained.  "This is why the principle of partnership between the person with dementia and the family carer on the one hand and health care professionals and care services on the other is so important," she added. 

Professor Henry Brodaty agreed a national approach was imperative.

"The report puts forward a number of potential solutions that may form part of a national approach.  One such solution is a National Dementia Registry aimed at ensuring that patients and their carers do not 'fall through the cracks'," Professor Brodaty said.

He also recommended therapies and services were logged and followed up on, to improve the timely access to and delivery of appropriate information and services.

"We already have more than 320,000 people living with dementia and the cost to the health system, the aged care system, the patients and, importantly, the patients' carers and families, is already immense.  We need to look at a number of solutions to help ease this burden and ensure the best health outcomes for all Australians," he said. 

Professor Brodaty also noted that together with an ageing population, a lack of specialist dementia and aged care professionals would pose significant challenges to society, indicating a critical need for a well-trained and remunerated dementia care workforce. 

The Collaborating for a better future for Australians living with Alzheimer's disease report, is available for download at www.fightdementia.org.au.

Date Published: 
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
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