Improve the quality of care for older people with psychological and/or neurological conditions

Provide access to psychological and neuropsychological assessment and treatment for older people, both those in the community and those residing in aged care facilities.

The prevalence of dementia in Australia is expected to at least triple by 2050.  Early diagnosis and intervention has been demonstrated to keep people with dementia living in the community longer.  The primary care sector would be better equipped to undertake early diagnosis if they had access to the diagnostic contributions of clinical neuropsychologists under Medicare.  Managing people with dementia in the community is also hindered by the absence of a mechanism under Medicare for psychologists to develop and implement behaviour management programmes for this cohort.

The incidence of psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety is much higher among people living in residential aged care facilities than in the wider community.  Mental illness and disruptive behaviour among people residing in such facilities are frequently treated with psychoactive medication which has undesirable side effects and is expensive to provide and monitor.  Psychological assessment and interventions for members of the aged community have been shown to be effective in managing mood disorders and disruptive behaviour, and to improve quality of life for residents as well as reducing costs for the facility by decreasing the need for pharmac0logical interventions.  However, there is currently extremely limited access to psychological assessment and treatment for people living in aged care facilities.

The Australian Psychological Society seeks a commitment from all political parties to:

  • Provide medical practitioners with the ability to refer people with suspected symptoms or significant risk factors for dementia to receive Government-funded clinical neuropsychological assessment and treatment planning
  • Implement a 12-month trial of supervised placements in residential aged care facilities for professional psychology postgraduate students to provide, under supervision, psychological assessments, and mood and behaviour management interventions for residents as well as training for facility staff on behaviour management.

 

For further details of this proposal, please contact the Australian Psychological Society

Professor Lyn Littlefield OAM, Executive Director l.littlefield@psychology.org.au

Dr Louise Roufeil, Executive Manager, Professional Practice (Policy) l.roufeil@psychology.org.au


APS Submissions

Position Paper and Brief

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Where do the parties stand?

The APS has asked for a response from the major political parties regarding the key issues. Party responses will be posted below, as we receive them:

 

Freezing of Medicare rebates

The APS supports the GP campaign against the continued freezing of indexation of Medicare rebates.

Emeritus Professor Gina Geffen AM FAPS