Media Release by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Improving care for hospital patients with dementia

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for Health, Minister for Sport

The Australian Government is investing $2.3 million to trial nationally a Victorian-based programme that improves the care of people with dementia in hospital.

The Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, and the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield, said Ballarat Health Services had successfully run the innovative Dementia Care in Hospitals Program across Victoria over the past 10 years.

“The Dementia Care in Hospitals Program has already made a real difference in the quality of care of Victorians with dementia in hospitals,” Ms Ley said.

“A further four hospitals–Charles Gardiner in Western Australia, Canberra Hospital, Royal Hobart Tasmania and the Central Adelaide Local Health Network–will now participate in a national trial.

“Hospital staff are trained to appropriately care for these patients, who may have trouble remembering, learning new concepts, concentrating or making decisions, and can adjust to their needs.”

The Dementia Care in Hospitals Program uses a visual bedside symbol to help staff identify patients with memory and thinking difficulties such as dementia, delirium, and cognitive impairment.

Senator Fifield said that providing quality care to older Australians with dementia is a priority for the Government.

“It is important that older Australians, whether at home, in residential aged care, or in a hospital, receive care appropriate to their needs,” Senator Fifield said.

“Through help to identify and care for patients with dementia, hospital staff are better able to communicate with them in the hospital setting and their families, who, in turn, are better able to engage with hospital staff.

“This has meant that, as well as making a difference to the quality of care for patients with dementia, the programme has also been shown to improve satisfaction for carers and staff.”