Mobile dementia teams welcome; pain education, special care needed

HammondCare welcomes the release of additional funds to deploy mobile teams of clinical experts supporting aged care residents experiencing severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield said today that $54.4 million would be spent over four years replacing the previous Dementia Supplement which experienced a 10-fold blow out last year costing $135 million.

HammondCare Chief Executive Dr Stephen Judd said that the previous supplement had been badly targeted and implemented and the new mobile teams were a good first response.

“If the level of claiming under the previous supplement was correct, then Australians had the highest incidence of severe and challenging behaviours in the world!” Dr Judd said.

Pain education, special care also needed

“The experience of Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Services (DBMAS) in some states is that more than half so-called ‘severe and challenging behaviours’ are related not to the underlying dementia, but to unrecognised pain which the person with dementia is unable to communicate. Environmental triggers such as noise intrusion were also a leading factor.

“The Minister has also announced a further review of dementia programs and we believe this should include education for nurses and carers in identifying and treating pain experienced by people with dementia,” Dr Judd said.

“A longer term response also needs to include the introduction more broadly of special care units for people with severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, such as units run by Southern Cross Care in Perth and our Linden Cottage at Hammondville."

HammondCare manages NSW DBMAS and is a leading provider of dementia, aged care and palliative care in NSW and Victoria. Dr Judd was among 60 stakeholders who participated in the Ministerial Dementia Forum late last year.

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