Extra funding for dementia care welcomed - HammondCare

Chief Executive of not-for-profit, health and aged care provider, HammondCare, Dr Stephen Judd, welcomed today’s announcement by Federal Aged Care Minister Sussan Ley, of extra funding for dementia services.

“The commitment to provide $7.5 million over four years to establish specialist dementia care units is a great step in the right direction for people living with dementia and will mean better targeted care,” Dr Judd said. (Video below)

“The $3.9 million also announced today for an education program to help raise awareness about dementia and create dementia friendly communities is a good initiative. This approach has worked overseas and more needs to be done in Australia to ensure people have a better understanding of living with dementia.”

Speaking at HammondCare’s international conference on dementia in Sydney, where the funding announcement was made, Dr Judd said it was important to focus on preventative strategies as a way to combat dementia.

“There is still much more work to be done to ensure Australia is well-placed to care for the thousands of people who will be living with dementia over the next few decades. Better research and data s needed for good policy and planning and we also need to ensure dementia is regarded as a key component of all aged care services.

“We need to be bold and courageous to ensure the best possible care for the significant numbers of Australians who will be living with dementia beyond 2020,” Dr Judd said.

Vision for better dementia care

Dr Judd's plenary address at the Grand Designs international dementia conference proposed six achievable steps that would ensure better support and care for people with dementia:

  • Having better data about the current and future incidence of dementia here in Australia.
  • A strong, sustained focus, prevention campaign.
  • A better general understanding of dementia throughout aged care.
  • More dementia-specific services.
  • Comprehensive, national advisory and support services.
  • Special care units for people who need dedicated and intensive support. 

"Is that too much to ask for in four years? I don’t think so," Dr Judd said.

Further key messages

Other key messages on day one of Grand Designs included:

  • Agnes Houston, vice chair of the European Person with Dementia Working Group, described the sensory and lifestyle challenges of dementia and her determination to enjoy a high quality of life, along with the inspiration of other people living with dementia.
  • Emeritus Professor Mary Marshall, focused on how evidenced-based environmental design can reduce stress for people with dementia
  • One of the UK's most senior dementia advisors, Professor Sube Banerjee spoke about the complexity of care for people with dementia and comorbidity's and the challenge this posed to 'single domain health care models.
  • HammondCare's Dr Kirsty Beilharz provided a fascinating insight into the positive impact of flexible, personalised, embedded music engagement on the lives of people with dementia, including increased connection, comfort and companionship.
  • Early finding from the Australian-first Dogs4Dementia pilot were also released (see separate news story)
Highlights of day two

The second day of Grand Designs (Friday, June 17) begins with A/Prof Stephen Macfarlane, clinical lead for SBRT, telling the story of what has been achieved through these mobile clinical response teams as they have worked effectively across the nation. He is followed by Jenny van der Steen of the Netherlands who will speak on establishing a palliative environment for people with dementia.

Peter Morgan-Jones' new cookbook It's all about the food not the fork! will be launched by Maggie Beer at 1pm and this will be followed by an international food forum featuring the premiere of a documentary that follows the experience of US food icon Paula Wolfert who now lives with dementia.