Looking at the challenges of aged care for people with dementia

PhD candidate Tracee Cash

Increasing the understanding of community aged care for people with dementia is the focus of new research by Griffith University.

Tracee Cash, a PhD candidate from the university’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland is undertaking a large-scale study gathering opinion from those involved, following the government’s introduction of a consumer-directed care (CDC) model for community aged care in August 2015.

The aim of CDC in Australia is to provide community-dwelling aged care consumers (care recipients and family carers) with greater choice and control over the care services they receive, including when and by whom these services are delivered.

Exercising control

Under the Australian model of CDC, aged care consumers will also have the ability to decide on the extent to which they exercise this control.

Ms Cash says that the research is threefold. “We are aiming to gain an understanding of how CDC is enacted within the family of people with dementia living in the community, but we also want to get an understanding of the barriers and facilitators to enacting CDC for these people in the community.

“There are also those voices that are being heard and not heard within the CDC aged care arena, and it’s hoped that this research will provide important insight which will inform government and service providers as they negotiate and adapt policies and procedures to the CDC model of care,” says Ms Cash.

Dementia is a leading cause of both death and burden of disease in Australia. It is estimated that by 2050, around 900,000 Australians will be living with dementia. Currently around 30% of people with dementia in Australia reside in residential care facilities at a cost of $1.1bn annually.

“Compared with the $408m cost to care for the remaining 70% of people with dementia living in the community, it makes economic sense for the government to develop policies to assist this population to remain in their homes for as long as possible,” says Professor Wendy Moyle, program director of Optimising Health Outcomes, Menzies Health Institute Queensland.

“To date, there has been no research which specifically focuses on people with dementia under CDC. As the prevalence of dementia continues to rise and as CDC is the preferred model of community aged care both internationally and in Australia, this research will add significantly to the understanding of community aged care for people with dementia under a CDC model.”

If interested in having your voice heard, please email [email protected]