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Dementia is everyone’s business

A new Dementia Active HealthCare Framework and Roadmap to guide dementia care in Sydney Local Health District.

SydneyConnect video: Launch of Dementia Active Healthcare Framework

When Patrick Honeine’s father Samir, aged 76, was diagnosed with early onset Dementia 18 months ago, it was a difficult adjustment for the family.

“Dad has always been a very active and extremely intelligent person, not to mention a pretty big support for the family as well. Unfortunately, the situation very quickly deteriorated, and we were pretty much left trying to understand how to help,” he said. 

Working with Sydney Local Health District’s dementia respite service, Patrick and his family receive support and guidance about accessing services, and respite care from care workers visiting their home.

The support gives Patrick and his family the comfort to know Samir is being cared for as well as providing the chance for some much-needed rest, particularly for his mum . 

“Both of these lovely ladies (home care workers) have been an absolute God send to our family,” Patrick said.

“They have just adapted to him so well, whether it's just sitting quietly with dad, having a cup of coffee or playing card games.”

“He loves playing card games with Jossline. Apparently, he's been beating her, but I told her not to go so easy on him.”

Patrick, Samir and their family joined District Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson, Dr Andrew Hallahan, District Executive Director of Medical Services, and Clinical Associate Professor John Cullen, Clinical Director Aged Care Services at Kalparrin Centre in Concord to launch the District’s new Dementia Active Healthcare Framework and Roadmap 2024-30.

The Framework will guide Sydney Local Health District’s delivery of care to people with dementia, with consideration for  the current landscape of dementia care, recognising the partnerships required and importance of offering a range of services to meet the diverse needs of each individual.

Clinical Associate Professor John Cullen emphasised how the supports provided to patients and their families need to be multidisciplinary, flexible and dynamic, to change when a person’s needs changes over time, and to be coordinated and person focused. 

“The issues arising from the disease are complex, extensive and life changing. Carers are the key to assisting a person with dementia to live as well, happily, and independently as possible,” he said.

“Lifestyle, cardiovascular and metabolic conditions which are potentially modifiable may account for up to 40 percent of risk factors and may postpone onset dementia or slow progression.”

“We hope the framework we're launching today will assist in in meeting those needs for our local population.”

Helen Hislop, who will lead the implementation of the Framework, spoke at its launch to emphasise the key message of the framework: dementia is everyone’s business.

“I am delighted to see that we have representatives of our ‘everyone’ here with us today – our clients, their carers and families, representatives from our hospitals, our clinical directors and clinical managers and from all service types we deliver; inpatients, outpatients and community services.”

“This broad representation  demonstrates the commitment the District has to implementing this Framework across our clinical services.”

The framework was launched during March Arts, the District’s celebration of arts in healthcare, to acknowledge and promote the positive impact that creative arts can have on health and quality of life.