National Dementia Action Plan
Palliative Care Australia (PCA) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission on the National Dementia Action Plan consultation.
In our submission PCA advocates for holistic, person-centred palliative care to be made available to all people diagnosed with dementia – from the time of diagnosis. As dementia is a leading cause of death in Australia, this highlights the need for people’s palliative care needs to be explicitly considered and supported in the Dementia Action Plan. This includes providing grief and bereavement support for the person's family and loved ones.
Notably, the World Health Organization Global Action Plan provides:
Palliative care is a core component of the continuum of care for people living with dementia from the point of diagnosis through to the end of life and into the bereavement stages for families and carers. It provides physical, psychosocial and spiritual support for people with dementia and their carers including support with advance care planning.
PCA supports the development of a Dementia Action Plan that puts the person, their family and loved ones at the centre of the approach. This is also consistent with the National Palliative Care Strategy 2018. PCA supports a vision for the Dementia Action Plan that provides for people living with dementia, their carers, families and loved ones having the best quality of life possible.
PCA also recommends reference to the PCA National Palliative Care Standards and National Palliative Care Standards for All Health Professionals and Aged Care Services (collectively, the PCA Standards) in the Dementia Action Plan. The PCA Standards provide valuable guidance on the provision of optimal care and support - which should be available to people and their families from the time of diagnosis. The PCA Standards are highly regarded internationally for articulating best practice palliative care.
In this submission PCA also provides a number of comments and recommendations relating to paediatrics, training for the workforce, responsiveness to individual needs, and the development of dementia data and research.