Dementia Australia welcomes additional health and mental health funding

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Dementia Australia has welcomed the Victorian Government’s Budget investment of $2.1 billion to meet the demands on the State’s health system.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said that with more than 107,000 people in Victoria living with dementia, it was important to have a strong acute care system that has the capacity to ensure people impacted by dementia were supported appropriately.1

“As the risk of dementia increases with advancing age, people with dementia, including those living at home and living in residential care, are frequent users of hospitals and other health care services.

“One in every four people with dementia requires hospital services each year, which is twice the rate for people of the same age who do not have dementia. People with dementia have worse clinical outcomes including longer stays in hospital, higher mortality, and greater likelihood of readmission. 2

“Dementia often goes unrecognised or undocumented, which can contribute to the needs of the person with dementia not being met, so we welcome the additional investment in strengthening hospital care, and we will explore further with the Government more effective ways to embed dementia specialist education across this sector.”

Dementia Australia also applauds the $32.6 million to address elder abuse and secure the future of the state’s public aged care services.

“People living with dementia are uniquely vulnerable to the threat of elder abuse, mainly due to declining cognitive capacity and for many, an inability to communicate if, and when, they are being abused,” Ms McCabe said.

“Dementia Australia strongly supports the intention of the funding package to provide better workforce training to ensure staff are better equipped to identify and respond to cases of suspected elder abuse, and prevent the abuse from escalating,” she said.

“Dementia Australia has long advocated for additional workforce training and support in this area.”

There are more than 100 types of dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease the most common. The number of people living with dementia in Victoria is expected to increase to 280,241 by 2056 in the absence of a significant medical breakthrough.1

Dementia was estimated to cost Victoria $3.7 billion in 2017 and $9.4 billion by 2056.

Dementia is the leading cause of death among Australian women and the second leading cause of death overall.

“Dementia is everyone’s business and it urgently requires well-funded support and services, responsive to local needs,” Ms McCabe said.

“While we are very pleased with the additional funding commitment toward improving community based mental health services for people with a severe mental health illness, it is important that we do not forget other vulnerable groups who are often caught between the cracks of the aged, mental health and disability sectors.’’

In its budget submission to the Victorian Government, Dementia Australia also asked for funding of $1.4 million for the needs of family carers of people with younger onset dementia with an estimated 6,300 people living with dementia under the age of 65 in Victoria last year.

“Such funding would help people living in Victoria with younger onset dementia to help navigate the disability and aged care systems and provide them with appropriate care, counselling, support and engagement,” Ms McCabe said,

Ms McCabe said while additional and sustained funding of health and aged care services in Victoria was welcome, it remained essential for increased funding for dementia-specific services to ensure that people who live with dementia live well, for longer, and with the dignity and respect they deserved.

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Dementia Australia is the national peak body and charity for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 436,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach almost 1.1 million by 2058. Dementia Australia is the new voice of Alzheimer’s Australia. Dementia Australia’s services are supported by the Australian Government.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

Interpreter service available

(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)

Dementia is a National Health Priority Area

www.dementia.org.au

Media contacts: Christine Bolt, 0400 004 553 / christine.bolt@dementia.org.au and Monika Boogs 0407 019 430 monika.boogs@dementia.org.au

When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia Language Guidelines.