The Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement was to be a significant financial aid for aged care providers in Australia, ensuring a steady level of funding for elderly residents suffering from the disease in facilities.
Following its cancellation, providers convened at Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) in Victoria to discuss the impacts on staffing, services and facilities.
"I'm concerned that if we don't invest in providing care and accommodation for people living with dementia there will be limited access to services for these residents into the future," President of the Victorian peak body Ingrid Williams told Australian Ageing Agenda.
The cancellation is especially concerning given the plans providers have likely already put in place, whether for new staffing hires, expansion of resident numbers or even dedicated dementia units. It's now going to be a necessity to reassess future plans.
LASA CEO Patrick Reid expressed his concern with the decision, and the likely effects it would have on the industry over the next few years.
"As the peak provider body LASA has made repeat warnings to [the] government that such arbitrary removal of funding poses significant fiduciary risk to organisations operating in aged care," said LASA CEO Patrick Reid.
"What now for aged care providers who have followed a government mandated process, made appropriate assessments and staffed or modified their facilities accordingly in the belief that funding was adequately provisioned by the Department?"
With the industry on a growth path, and showing no immediate signs of slowing down, funding increases are becoming a necessity. Without the dementia funding, it's going to be essential for facilities to carefully reassess facility and staffing efforts over the next few years.