` If the Com­mon­wealth wants peo­ple to stay at home longer, then carer fa­tigue must be ad­dressed; to meet the need for the carer to re­lin­quish care tem­po­rar­ily with­out be­ing con­sumed with guilt and an­guish be­cause of the con­di­tions, en­vi­ron­ment and stan­dar

Dubbo Photo News - - Opin­ion, anal­y­sis, fea­tures, depth. -

DIREC­TOR of Dubbo Area Nurs­ing Ser­vice Jac­qui Martel en­coun­ters peo­ple with de­men­tia and their car­ers ev­ery day. In re­cent years, she has seen a dra­matic in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple pre­sent­ing with the con­di­tion, which also broad­ens the num­ber of peo­ple car­ing for the per­son liv­ing with de­men­tia.

“There has also been a drop in age for those with de­men­tia util­is­ing our ser­vices. We’ve seen an in­crease in both men and women.

“We now pro­vide live-in care and pro­vide guid­ance on ser­vices to ac­cess in the com­mu­nity,” she said.

Royal Freema­sons’ Benev­o­lent In­sti­tu­tion (RFBI) Dubbo Ma­sonic Re­tire­ment Vil­lage gen­eral man­ager, Danny Oak­en­full, agrees with this as­sess­ment of the trend.

“It is well known that more and more peo­ple are liv­ing with de­men­tia and across our ser­vices we have seen an in­crease of res­i­dents com­ing into our care with de­men­tia.

“It can take many forms and present in many dif­fer­ent ways. As such, the more we learn about the dis­ease, the bet­ter we are at be­ing able to iden­tify it,” Danny told Dubbo Photo News.

De­spite the grow­ing num­ber of ser­vices in Dubbo, in­clud­ing the an­nounce­ment re­cently of the RSL Life­care’s $12 mil­lion nurs­ing home in West Dubbo which will fea­ture a de­men­tia-spe­cific wing with 18 bed­rooms, there re­mains a high de­gree of un­cer­tainty among the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion about who can and is pro­vid­ing ser­vices, what the long term plans have to be and how to nav­i­gate Myaged­care.

Fed­eral Mem­ber for Bal­larat Catherine King crit­i­cised the wait times as­so­ci­ated with Myaged­care in par­lia­ment on March 27: “It is quite ob­scene to tell some­one who is in their late 80s that they have to wait 12 months be­fore they can ac­cess the high level of ser­vices that they have been assessed as need­ing, in or­der to stay, not only within their own home, but safe and healthy within their own home. It is some­thing that re­ally is an ab­so­lute in­dict­ment of this gov­ern­ment.”

Car­ers too are feel­ing over­whelmed.

Danny Oak­en­full ex­plained: “Myaged­care is the new way both providers and cus­tomers ne­go­ti­ate the aged care land­scape and it is con­tin­u­ing to im­prove. Via the Myaged­care site, cus­tomers and

Direc­tor of Dubbo Area Nurs­ing Ser­vice Jac­qui Martel. their fam­i­lies can find out about the types of ser­vices avail­able in their area, who can pro­vide them and is the gate­way for ac­cess­ing ser­vices.

“There is a lot of use­ful in­for­ma­tion on this site but it can feel a bit over­whelm­ing. Our team is al­ways happy to as­sist and we en­cour­age prospec­tive res­i­dents, clients and their fam­i­lies to ei­ther drop by or give us a call if they would like to talk to some­one about their op­tions and get sup­port through the jour­ney.”

One of the ben­e­fits of Myaged­care is the sta­tis­ti­cal pic­ture it paints of de­men­tia in the com­mu­nity.

“Myaged­care has cen­tralised ser­vices and al­lows for greater re­port­ing to be done, so the Gov­ern­ment has an un­der­stand­ing of the needs within the com­mu­nity for aged care and the gaps that need to be filled – this in­cludes ser­vices and fund­ing,” said Jac­qui.

While the pop­u­la­tion gets used to the new sys­tem, there is a sense of hes­i­ta­tion on the up­take.

“I am sur­prised, and con­cerned, that peo­ple are of­ten in cri­sis be­fore they seek help. I have heard on many oc­ca­sions that peo­ple were not aware of the many ser­vices avail­able for peo­ple with de­men­tia,” Danny said.

“The main ser­vices that car­ers are seek­ing is respite, live-in care, RN clin­i­cal care and as­sis­tance to take pres­sures off them,” Jac­qui said.

“These in­clude us tak­ing the per­son with de­men­tia to med­i­cal ap­point­ments and re­lay­ing in­for­ma­tion back to the fam­ily.

“There is also in­creased en­quiries into ad­di­tional in-home care ser­vices in nurs­ing homes. We know that a nurs­ing home is some­one’s home so we are there to pro­vide spe­cial and in­creased one-on-one care, such as as­sist­ing with eat­ing meals or read­ing books,” Jac­qui said.

Sim­i­larly, RFBI Care at Home sup­ports peo­ple to main­tain in­de­pen­dent liv­ing.

“The team can as­sist with just about any­thing imag­in­able, from per­sonal care and home du­ties to shop­ping trips or even hy­drother­apy ses­sions. All ser­vices are tai­lored to meet in­di­vid­ual needs and de­liv­ered by ap­pro­pri­ately trained staff.

“The range of ser­vices is al­most lim­it­less and in­cludes as­sis­tive tech­nolo­gies to mon­i­tor clients in their own home such as mo­tion sen­sors, door open/close sen­sors, and wa­ter on/off sen­sors for ease of mind.

“Our RFBI Care at Home team are also able to sup­port car­ers with ad­vice and much needed breaks.”

Get­ting a break is es­sen­tial to the 2.7 mil­lion car­ers across Australia.

“Car­ers play a piv­otal role in sup­port­ing peo­ple with de­men­tia to main­tain health and well­be­ing. As hu­mans, we are in­ter­de­pen­dent upon each other – when one is af­fected it nor­mally im­pacts those around them. This can be seen with de­men­tia, as part­ners, chil­dren, par­ents, friends and col­leagues will all be af­fected in some way,” Cen­tacare’s Share the Care pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor Caro­line Gro­gan said.

In a 2017 Car­ers Queens­land sur­vey which col­lected data on car­ers’ qual­ity of life, one sur­vey re­spon­dent said: “If the Com­mon­wealth wants peo­ple to stay at home longer, then carer fa­tigue must be ad­dressed; to meet the need for the carer to re­lin­quish care tem­po­rar­ily with­out be­ing con­sumed with guilt and an­guish be­cause of the con­di­tions, en­vi­ron­ment and stan­dard of care pro­vided to the re­cip­i­ent when they are in the fa­cil­ity”.

Ac­cord­ing to Caro­line, the sur­vey re­vealed that car­ers have high in­ci­dences of feel­ings of iso­la­tion, hope­less­ness, lone­li­ness, poor phys­i­cal health, anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion and carer ex­clu­sion.

“This is es­pe­cially con­cern­ing given some of the afore­men­tioned

Above:

Turn­ing of the soil for the new RSL Life Care Bill New­ton VC Gar­dens on Tues­day, Fe­bru­ary 20, are RSL Life Care’s Tim Ban­ni­gan, Fed­eral Mem­ber for Parkes Mark Coul­ton and Wayne O’con­nor.

Left:

RN Dorothy and El­iz­a­beth from the Dubbo Area Nurs­ing Ser­vice team sup­port­ing car­ers and peo­ple with de­men­tia across the western re­gion.

feel­ings are risk fac­tors for sui­cide in the over­all pop­u­la­tion, with­out the ad­di­tional stress of be­ing a carer,” Caro­line said.

Respite care is cur­rently the sub­ject of a gov­ern­ment re­view which is call­ing for com­ment from providers and con­sumers by 5pm, Fri­day, April 13. (See de­tails be­low).

The Aged Care Fi­nanc­ing Au­thor­ity (ACFA) has been tasked by the Min­is­ter for Aged Care Ken Wy­att to un­der­take the re­view and re­port on the in­creas­ing use of respite care and the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of the cur­rent ar­range­ments, in­clud­ing fund­ing struc­tures, for providers and con­sumers.

In­cluded in the re­view are pro­cesses for ap­ply­ing for and seek­ing ac­cess to respite care, bot­tle­necks or de­lays, whether cur­rent provider fund­ing struc­tures are ap­pro­pri­ate, and emer­gency ac­cess.

For the per­son liv­ing with a de­men­tia di­ag­no­sis, respite for them can help build the cop­ing mech­a­nisms needed when fac­ing the un­cer­tainty and changes that come

Con­tin­ued next page

PHOTO: DARCEE NIXON

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED.

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