New funding and a new framework for dementia

  • Jo Goodhew

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew has today announced details of how an additional $3.2 million will be used to support early diagnosis of dementia, and a framework that will guide DHBs on how best to support people with dementia.

“An early diagnosis means a person has more time to communicate their treatment preferences to their family and whānau,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Early symptoms of dementia can include forgetfulness, struggling for words, changes in thinking or behaviour or difficulty in being able to look after yourself.

“Unfortunately, a diagnosis of dementia can sometimes be delayed due to common misconceptions such as forgetfulness being a normal part of ageing.

“This is why the Government has tagged specific funding for the training of healthcare workers in dementia signs and symptoms. 

The $3.2 million over three years in Budget 2013 will be allocated as follows:

  • $1.25m for a public awareness campaign by Alzheimers New Zealand
  • $750,000 for clinical education, coordinated by DHBs, to improve awareness and responsiveness of dementia in primary care
  • $1.2m for dementia training for healthcare workers, coordinated by Careerforce New Zealand

“An estimated 48,000 New Zealanders currently have dementia.  By 2050 this is expected to have tripled to nearly 150,000,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“In response to this Government has made dementia a priority, allocating almost $100 million of additional funding over the last three Budgets specifically for dementia services.

“The New Zealand Framework for Dementia Care will guide DHBs in the development of pathways which provide integrated and coordinated services.

“It encourages key shifts in dementia care, such as putting the individual at the centre of their care and providing easy access to services.

“One important change is that it supports early diagnosis of dementia so people are able to make plans and decisions about their own future care.

“The Framework was developed by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the dementia sector, and had input from people with dementia and their families.

“Today’s announcement is further proof of the Government’s commitment to supporting people with dementia and maximising their independence and wellbeing,” says Mrs Goodhew.