4 February 2015
More support for people with severe symptoms of dementia in aged care
Today the Abbott Government has delivered on its commitment to establish an alternative programme to Labor’s bungled Dementia Supplement, announcing an initiative to expand support for aged care residents experiencing severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
The announcement follows consultation with the aged care sector through the Ministerial Dementia Forum and the Aged Care Sector Committee.
The Government has announced it will invest $54.5 million over four years the original funding envelope of the previous Dementia Supplement to establish Severe Behaviour Response Teams.
Severe Behaviour Response Teams (SBRTs) will be a mobile workforce of clinical experts who will provide timely and expert advice to residential aged care providers that request assistance with addressing the needs of people with the most severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
These teams of aged care experts will visit residents exhibiting extreme behaviours, assess the cause and advise care staff on how to best care for the resident.
The first phase of the SBRTs is expected to commence nationally later this year, following a competitive tender process. The SBRTs will work closely with the existing Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Services in each state and territory.
A second phase will see these two programmes integrated from 2016-17.
Complementing this initiative, the Government will also conduct an analysis of existing dementia programmes during the first half of 2015.
Currently the Government provides more than $130 million for a diverse range of programmes designed to provide support and assistance to people with dementia and their carers. These programmes have evolved individually over a number of years and the Government is keen to ensure that we optimize the national coordination, integration and effectiveness of this major investment.
Both of these initiatives respond to specific recommendations made by the sector to Government through the Ministerial Dementia Forum, which I convened on 11 September last year.
The Forum brought together more than 60 key stakeholders and experts to advise the Government on how to encourage better practice dementia care in both residential and home care settings, and how to best support people who exhibit severe behaviours.
These two initiatives demonstrate that the Abbott Government is listening to the concerns of the aged care sector, consulting on policy design, and delivering on its commitment to find a viable alternative to Labor’s failed Dementia Supplement within the original funding envelope.
BACKGROUND ON THE DEMENTIA AND SEVERE BEHAVIOURS SUPPLEMENT
In 2014, the Government ceased Labor’s bungled Dementia and Severe Behaviour Supplement, which had blown its budget by over ten-fold.
The Supplement commenced on 1 August 2013, and was ceased on 31 July 2014.
The Supplement was emblematic of the previous Government’s policy ineptitude, who estimated that 2,000 people would be eligible for the Supplement. By the time it was ceased in 2014, 33,000 people were receiving the Supplement. This represents a 16-fold blow out in Labor’s eligibility estimates.
The Supplement was budgeted at $11.7 million for the 2013-14 financial year. Instead, the cost in 2013-14 was $135 million. This represents more than a 10-fold blow out in expenditure.
If claiming patterns had been allowed to continue, the $16 a day Supplement would have cost the Government $780 million over four years instead of $52 million, and $1.5 billion over ten years.
When the decision was made to cease the Supplement, the Government indicated our intention to develop an alternative policy to support aged care residents with severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
Media contact: Lydia Paterson | 0409 792 081 | firstname.lastname@example.org