Peak calls for cash boost for palliative care

Dementia care needs to be better integrated with palliative care, says the national peak body for palliative care.

With dementia now the second leading cause of death in Australia, there needs to be greater investment in end-of-life care, says the national peak body for palliative care.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, dementia has overtaken coronary heart disease as the leading cause of disease burden among older Australians.

Camilla Rowland

“With dementia now the biggest health issue facing Australians over 65 years, now more than ever we need greater investment in quality of life at the end of life,” said Camilla Rowland, chief executive officer at Palliative Care Australia.

AIHW estimates that more than 400,000 people in Australia are currently living with dementia. Therefore, said Ms Rowland, dementia care needs to be better integrated with palliative care. “And for a lot of those people, that will mean many years of quality living and relationships.”

PCA’s own data from KPMG shows a growing need for palliative care, said Ms Rowland. “That demand will increase by 50 per cent in the coming decade and double by 2050. As people and families living with dementia seek more out of life, demand for palliative care will grow.”

The peak body is calling for palliative care to be made available from the time of a dementia diagnosis. “It is so important that people who are diagnosed with dementia are immediately supported with holistic, person-centred care and connections to medical teams, allied health professionals and social workers to assist them and their loved ones navigate their next steps,” said Ms Rowland.

In its pre-budget submission, the PCA presents to government the actions needed to increase access to palliative care. This includes educating the aged care workforce, said Ms Rowland.

“The aged care royal commission made 12 recommendations that palliative care and dementia care be embedded in aged care. Health professionals and those employed in aged care need to be supported in this with appropriate and timely training.”

For this to happen, the government needs to inject more cash into palliative care said Ms Rowland. “Dementia is the biggest health issue of the 21st century, now is the time for greater investment in palliative care.”

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Tags: camilla rowland, dementia, palliative care, palliative-care-australia,

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