Industry body urges govt to make dementia education a priority
Dementia Australia has welcomed the federal government’s workforce action in aged care but is urging the government to make targeted dementia education a priority.
Maree McCabe AM, CEO Dementia Australia, said, “All registered nurses, all new care staff and all those currently working in the aged care system must have a minimum level of dementia care education, as recommended by the Royal Commission almost 18 months ago.
“This is critical to deliver the impact needed to raise the quality of care for all those living with dementia.”
Dementia Australia has recommended a number of short, medium and long-term solutions to the new federal government. These include encouraging all care workers to download the Ask Annie app. The first three introductory modules are free and include 22 lessons with information and strategies at their fingertips to empower care workers to better support people living with dementia.
“We invite all staff at all levels in health and aged care to call the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 whenever they are seeking further information, support and strategies to better care for someone living with dementia in their care. This service is also accessible via webchat and email at https://www.dementia.org.au/helpline,” McCabe said.
“We know 70% of people in residential aged care have moderate to severe cognitive impairment and we know 65% of the almost half a million Australians with dementia are living in the community.
“People living with dementia deserve to receive quality dementia care by appropriately trained staff — even in the midst of the pandemic.”
In the position statement, Dementia Education and the Residential Aged Care Workforce, released in May 2022, Dementia Australia further explores the aged care workforce solutions recommendations that have been presented and discussed with the new federal government.
The statement provides evidence that when people living with dementia receive care from professionals that have completed dementia education, fewer incidences of changed behaviour are experienced.
“Dementia education leads to fewer high-risk incidents, lower rates of medication administration and more positive staff attitudes and morale, which ultimately results in better service delivery and quality of life for people living with dementia,” McCabe said.
“We know through multiple surveys of the aged care workforce that aged care staff want ongoing, comprehensive dementia education,” McCabe said.
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