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Associate Health Minister, Jo Goodhew, announced late November 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.
The $3.2 million over three years in Budget 2013 comprises a $1.25m public awareness campaign by Alzheimer’s New Zealand; $750,000 for clinical education, coordinated by DHBs, to improve awareness and responsiveness of dementia in primary care; and $1.2m for dementia training for healthcare workers, coordinated by Careerforce New Zealand.
The announcement was welcomed by Alzheimer’s New Zealand.
“Raising awareness of dementia is critically important in ensuring people receive an early diagnosis of their condition and can access the right services and support,” says executive director, Catherine Hall.
Hall says raising awareness will also help to reduce the stigma that currently surrounds dementia.
The New Zealand Framework for Dementia Care, which was developed by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the dementia sector, 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,” says Goodhew. “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.”
An estimated 48,000 New Zealanders currently have dementia. By 2050 this is expected to have tripled to nearly 150,000.