The needs of people living with dementia, and those that care for people living dementia, does not change depending on where they live around Australia. Those in regional and remote areas require the same level of support as those in metropolitan cities, however access to specialist services is limited.
Generally, people want to stay in their own environment, and it is important to be able to care for the person with dementia where they live. As a large and geographically dispersed country, the sheer distances required to travel, and the remoteness of many communities means the approach to service delivery needs to be tailored to regional and remote Australia. With limited resourcing of the health sector in regional and remote Australia, there is a need to support health staff locally.
As a borderless service, Dementia Support Australia responds to referrals from anywhere in the country within 48 hours to a week, depending on the individual case. With an increasing ageing population and heightened incidence of dementia within this population, it is important that DSA increases exposure of its services into these areas.
In response to this identified need, DSA’s Regional and Remote Outreach Strategy was developed in 2019. The aim of the project was to target key areas within each state, promoting DSA service offerings, expanding community outreach programs, building relationships with key stakeholders within aged care and the community, and increasing skills and knowledge of care staff in supporting people living with dementia.
In March 2020, our service like many others, pivoted to provide increase awareness of and access to telehealth through videoconferencing as an important contributor to maintaining levels of support. In most cases, we were able to continue on the ground support but where we couldn’t, telehealth provided timely access. We are hoping to recommence our regional and remote strategy in 2021 so head to our website and view the calendar outlining services for each area with the states and let us know if you’d like us to schedule your region in.