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Two national services for dementia support, education roll out next month


The provision of care support and training and education in dementia will adopt a more coordinated approach with the long-awaited awarding of tenders to deliver two nationally consistent programs.

A consortium led by HammondCare will deliver the new Dementia Support Australia service, replacing the existing state-based Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) while a consortium led by the University of Wollongong will operate Dementia Training Australia, consolidating the current Dementia Training Study Centres and the Dementia Care Essentials program.

It follows a review late last year of government-funded dementia programs that found inefficiencies and called for consolidation of several services.

As Australian Ageing Agenda reported at the time, the review found the provision of information and training in dementia for both aged care workers and consumers and carers was a story of unmet need in some areas and duplication of services in others (read that story here).

Dementia Support Australia

Dementia-specialist aged care provider HammondCare said that national coverage with local specialisation would be the hallmark of the new Dementia Support Australia (DSA).

HammondCare CEO Dr Stephen Judd said the provider looked forward to working with its partners to deliver an effective, supportive national service.

“We will provide a nationally consistent approach, strengthened by a visible local presence, offering a tailored service for the person with dementia,” he said.

The provider’s experience in running the NSW DBMAS and the national Severe Behaviour Response Teams, along with the strength and experience of its partners, would enable DSA to provide a “boots on the ground” approach, Dr Judd said.

DSA would strive to build dementia capacity and knowledge across the sector through extensive sharing of advice and expertise, he added.

Among those partnering with HammondCare in DSA are Australian Regional & Remote Community Services (ARRCS), Blue Care and the Aged Care Channel.

Dementia Training Australia

Meanwhile, the $27.9 million Dementia Training Australia (DTA) program replaces the current Dementia Study Training Centres and Dementia Care Essentials program.

The DTA consortium is led by dementia educators and trainers from five universities and Alzheimer’s Australia WA.

It is made up of Professor Richard Fleming from the University of Wollongong, Professor Elizabeth Beattie from Queensland University of Technology, Dr Margaret Winbolt from La Trobe University, Professor Andrew Robinson from the University of Tasmania’s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, Dr Andrew Stafford from the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing and Jason Burton from Alzheimer’s Australia WA.

Consortium leader Professor Richard Fleming said DTA partners would be building on the experience they had gained operating the Dementia Training Study Centres and the Dementia Care Essentials program for the last nine years.

The program would deliver training for the full range of health and aged care staff from personal care assistants in the community and residential care to medical specialists in hospitals.

Both national programs commence from 1 October 2016.

Want to have your say on this story? Comment below. Send us your news and tip-offs to editorial@australianageingagenda.com.au 

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3 Responses to Two national services for dementia support, education roll out next month

  1. val fell September 23, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    I welcome the new training courses on dementia for those people working in the aged care sector. however I think the education of in- home 24/7 family carers needs to be addressed as soon as possible.. Under the CDC regimen and the cuts to the Funding instruments more and more people will be living with dementia at home. In -home carers will need help just to stay afloat themselves.-even knowing about the way to think about and navigate respite is an advantage. as demonstrated by those who have taken part in the Rethink respite project at the University of Wollongong .An extension of the key worker program for younger-onset people to all with a dementia diagnosis
    should also be considered as “help” can also be education

  2. Sharlou September 23, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

    I also welcome new training courses in dementia.

    Having worked in the aged care field for many years in management, I see big gaps that need to be filled. Behavioral issues associated with dementia are often not addressed and we see residents being transferred to hospitals due to physical violence which puts a risk to other residents and staff.

    Staff are not trained on how to deal with aggressive behaviors nor do they have the capacity of being able to. As part of the dementia training incentive I hope GPs are also included. Often the issues of dealing with a difficult resident is no medical support or back up.

    I am very passionate about dementia and mental health issues in older people and hope that this may bring some changes. Residents and families are often left without support.

    We need to improve our services and give residents a fair go!

  3. Isabel Baker October 20, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    The main issue I see in providing education to aged care staff about dementia is the difficulty getting those staff who really need to change their attitude and practises to actually attend training and take on board new approaches to caring and employ person-centred care. Having delivered specialist dementia training to aged care facilities through out my local area health service over a 13yr period the staff who were interested in applying person centred approaches and wanted to learn attended training regularly but those who thought they knew it all and didn’t and whose work practices contributed to some of the behaviours of concern exhibited by the residents never attended.

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