` 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
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
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.
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
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