Call for improved dementia services
The peak body supporting people living with dementia hopes a lack of services in regional areas will be rectified through an overhaul of programs across the nation.
Discussions between service providers and the Department of Aged Care will take place over the next month as the Federal Government tries to address a disparity between regional and metropolitan services.
The gap was identified in a re- port released in September which revealed a commonly shared view access to dementia services in country areas was limited and Government funding would likely need to be reallocated.
Aged Care Minister Sussan Ley released the Government’s response this week, saying her staff would consult providers to redesign support for people with dementia and their carers.
Alzheimer’s Australia WA chief executive Rhonda Parker said while the response contained lim- ited detail, she was buoyed by the prospect of dementia advocacy groups being able to help shape the future of services.
“These are big systems and it takes a while to shift them,” she said.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve got some time now to have a conversation with Government and that they’re going to consult key stakeholders.
“I’ll be in touch with the staff that I have in the regions and my staff and team in Kalgoorlie and look at how we can actually capture the views and the priorities from people out there.”
As part of the national restructure, Ms Ley announced the eight State and Territory-based providers of dementia education programs would be replaced by a single national provider.
The Government is looking to select such a provider by October.
Ms Parker said consolidating the education programs could help contracts and services for dementia support improve but the tyr- anny of distance needed to be acknowledged.
“What we’ve been at pains to say is you have to have local solutions for local problems and you have to be able to have flexibility in the contract so that you can design the service to suit the location,” she said.
“What we continue to raise, even with our … colleagues in the smaller more densely populated spaces, is there has to be a recognition of the difficulty of getting services out across such distances.”