Moree hosts hearing

DEMENTIA, a topic not easily talked about, was the subject of a public hearing in Moree this week.
Nanjing Night Net

The impact of dementia in regional Australia was discussed when the House of Representatives Committee on Health and Ageing held a public hearing in Moree on Monday at the Moree Plains Shire Council Committee Room.

Representatives from the local health district, Hunter New England Health, also appeared before the four-panel member committee to provide an understanding of the dementia-related supports and services available (or not) in Moree and the surrounding region.

The committee was informed about the challenges faced by local people in accessing the services they so desperately need, the availability of services for regional communities and the distances patients were required to access the limited services that were available.

Panel member, Nationals MP Mark Coulton, said the meeting had been interesting, hinting at the depth of work that needed to be done in relation to providing adequate dementia services to regional areas for all people, and particularly Aboriginal communities such as Toomelah and Boggabilla.

Clinical nurse consultant with Hunter New England Health, Mark Howland, said it was difficult to know just how widespread dementia was within the general community let alone within Aboriginal communities.

“My aim in Aboriginal communities is to tackle the issue in several stages; firstly to bed down clinical services and education on dementia, then tackle issues of patients going into care.” Current statistics estimate there is at least a 20-year life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

Mr Howland gave a rundown on local issues into which travel time ate into the services able to be provided due to excessive distances.

“Education becomes a main focus as providing clinical services becomes difficult,” he said, also describing the different aspects of dementia and how it affected all involved.

“Diagnosis is also difficult locally with the nearest assistance is in Tamworth or Armidale.”

Committee chair, Steve Georganas MP said the committee also heard about the challenges faced by an elderly carer and also relative of a person with advanced dementia.

He said their experiences of caring for a person with dementia illustrated the effects on those living some distance from their nearest services and support.

Representatives of Fairview provided the committee with an understanding of the residential care needs of people with dementia in Moree and surrounds.

Fairview Retirement Village operates Nan Crane Lodge, a dedicated, 17-room dementia facility.

The facility provides a range of activities to ensure residents stay connected with their community. These include as escorted bus trips, art and craft, bowls, skittles, bingo, singing and gardening.

“Residents of smaller communities faced the tyranny of distance and so access to fewer health services,” Mr Georganas said.

“This may mean that the ability to receive a timely diagnosis for dementia may be delayed affecting early access to appropriate services and support mechanisms.”

Results of the hearing will be available at a later date.

Panel members of the Committee on Health and Aging listen carefully to the evidence provided into dementia services yesterday.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Posted by at 21/10/2018
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