The new Aged Care Quality Standards (the Standards) aim to “focus on outcomes for consumers and reflect the level of care and services the community can expect from organisations that provide Commonwealth subsidised aged care services”.
However, people with a lived experience of dementia have expressed concern that the Standards will not necessarily ensure quality dementia care is delivered. This led to a series of discussions of what quality dementia care looks and feels like, and what the key points of difference are between quality dementia care and aged care more generally.
It is only by articulating clearly what defines and differentiates quality dementia care that we can provide clear and measurable expectations for aged care providers. The term ‘care’ is used here to refer to the full spectrum of support and care, from early supports that promote and maintain independence and reablement through to more intensive forms of care and support.
People with a lived experience of dementia want to ensure that their voices are heard, that quality care involves them and that their contribution leads to greater inclusion, support, respect and ultimately, improved quality of life. This is not just about quality dementia care; it is about providing quality aged care to people living with dementia as well as their families and carers.
The priorities and recommendations included in this Communique have been developed by people living with dementia, their families and carers in the context of the Standards. The Standards need to meet the physical, social, mental health and spiritual care needs of people living with dementia across all aged care settings and from all backgrounds. This care is about supporting people to lead the lives they want to lead, filled with purpose and meaning, and where individual needs are met, respected and valued.
The outcomes of the communique and summit provide the foundation for the next stages of this broader Dementia Australia initiative on raising the quality of dementia care through the creation of baseline and gold standards for quality dementia care. The next steps include a Stakeholder Roundtable later in 2019 followed by a Dementia Symposium in early 2020.