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Marie Alford (far left) and Nerida Pankhurst (centre). Photo: HammondCare

New intensive program designed to create dementia experts

A new program, developed by Dementia Support Australia (DSA) and HammondCare, is aiming to create dementia experts among the provider’s workforce.

As it stands, dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia, contributing to 5.4 per cent of all male deaths and 10.6 per cent of females. There is an estimated 436,366 Australians living with dementia, and without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to 589,807 by 2028 and 1,076,129 by 2058. The disease currently costs Australia more than $15 billion every year.

It is with this in mind that DSA and HammondCare have developed the Intensive Industry Partner Consultant Program, designed to support aged care providers and those in their care through education and upskilling.

Four health professionals have completed the course so far, graduating at the end of January.

One of the participants, Jeanne Daly form Brisbane, said: “The diversity of the staff working with DSA and HammondCare contributed greatly to our learnings from capacity building, physio, lifestyle, occupational therapy, mental health, dieticians, registered nurses and many more.”

Professor Colm Cunningham, director of HammondCare’s Dementia Centre, said the program was pioneering the future of the aged and dementia care sector.

“I’m confident it will do a great deal to improve the care that residents and clients receive,” Cunningham said.

Aged Care Insite spoke with Marie Alford, head of business development at the dementia centre at HammondCare, as well as program participant Nerida Pankhurst to hear more about the course.

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