The recent funding cessation of the Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement caused concern among aged care industry bodies, as the budget was set to alleviate some of the financial difficulties associated with caring for afflicted residents.
Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), one of the largest national peak bodies for aged and community care within Australia, has announced its concern that the cut sets a bad precedent, and further budget changes could be on the way.
In a growing industry where every form of financial assistance is essential, further cuts over the next few years could be disastrous.
Adjunct Professor John G Kelly, CEO of ASCA, recently explained the necessity of the funding.
“There is a substantial body of residents in aged care with significant dementia-related behaviours,” he said. “This supplement allowed better supported care for those people.”
He went on to outline the fact that the funding cut ignores the current raft of problems facing aged care providers and staff. As facility budgets are already tight, the funding would have ensured a strong suite of services for residents – and a high level of care.
“ACSA believes there is a significant need for additional support for people with severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia,” Professor Kelly explained.
The funding announcement was sudden, and likely caught many providers off-guard – providers who already had plans in place to distribute the dementia supplement. Due to the difficulties involved in caring for afflicted residents, having specialist assistance on hand would have been invaluable.
“A number of aged care providers were in receipt of this funding and it allowed those who had a cluster of residents eligible for the Dementia Supplement to recruit specialist dementia staff who could provide the best of care for these residents,” he said.
Aged care providers will have to begin considering alternatives for dementia care over the course of this year.