The Commonwealth Government is seeking feedback on the development of the proposed specialist care units to support people with very severe dementia-related behaviours.
The Australian Government announced it would establish Specialist Dementia Care Units (SDCUs) to support people who experience very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) in June 2016 in response to calls from experts and aged care stakeholders.
The $7.5 million election commitment was confirmed in the December 2016 Mid-Year Economic Fiscal Outlook with at least one SDCU to be established in each of the 31 Primary Health Networks nationally.
The Department of Health has released a consultation paper this week to provide information about SDCU developments to date, which have been informed by targeted consultation and analysis of existing services and best practice.
It is now seeking feedback on the future direction of the initiative, particularly with:
- how SDCUs will intersect with existing supports for people with dementia
- the proposed high-level model of care
- funding and administrative options.
SDCU’s aim to fill the gap consistently identified by stakeholders in the ability of the aged care and health systems to provide appropriate care for the estimated up to 1 per cent of people with dementia who experience very severe BPSD.
The units are intended to complement similar existing and planned state and territory government investments in services for people with very severe BPSD, according to the paper.
The department said SDCUs would:
- provide care for people with very severe BPSD who are unable to be effectively cared for by mainstream aged care services due to the risk of harm they present to themselves or others
- deliver care within a dedicated 8–12 bed unit with a residential aged care setting
- offer transitional support that focuses on reducing or stabilising symptoms, with the aim of enabling the person to transition to a less intensive care setting
- operate as the third level of Australian Government programs to assist people with dementia, complementing the existing Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service and Severe Behaviour Response Teams
- enhance the existing health and aged care service systems for people with very severe BPSD, including complementing state and territory government funded services and supports for people with BPSD.
The consultation paper is available here and the consultation period ends on 21 January 2018.
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