Media Release by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Release of Dementia Forum Report

I am pleased to release the Report from the first Ministerial Dementia Forum, Dementia Care – Core Business for Aged Care, held on 11 September.

The Forum brought together 70 key stakeholders and experts to advise the Government on how to encourage better practice dementia care in both residential and home settings, and how to best support people who exhibit severe behaviours.

Specifically, the Government convened the Forum to provide advice on a replacement for the previous government’s botched Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement.

Unfortunately, the Supplement – due to the previous government’s design – exceeded its budget by ten-fold, costing around $110 million in its first year (2013-14), well over the budgeted $11.7 million.

If claiming patterns had continued, the $16 a day Supplement would have cost $780 million over the four years from 2014-15 rather than $52 million, and over $1.5 billion over ten years.

The Dementia Forum Report provides options for improving dementia care and meeting the needs of people with severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

The Report is currently being considered by the Government, along with the feedback provided by members of the Aged Care Sector Committee.

The Government is considering options within the funding envelope originally allocated to the previous Dementia and Severe Behaviour Supplement.

While we recognise that dementia care is core business for all aged care services, we also acknowledge the need for specialist support for clients with more complex care needs or more severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

This is the context in which an alternative policy response will be developed.

The Government has a demonstrated commitment to supporting people with dementia, including through the provision of more than $43 million to the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Services, more than $33 million to the National Dementia Support Program, more than $10 million to the Dementia Training Study Centres, and through our $200 million boost to dementia research.

Funding also continues to be available for residential aged care providers to support the care needs of residents, including care needs associated with dementia, through the prime mechanism of Commonwealth subsidies to aged care determined on an individual basis using the Aged Care Funding Instrument.

The Report is available online: