Ahead of the General Election, Alzhiemers NZ has written to each political party seeking information regarding their policies and plans to respond to the healthcare challenge that dementia presents.
What will you do to promote and support a New Zealand Dementia Strategy?
The Green Party supports a New Zealand Dementia Strategy and in Government will ensure that the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards play a leading role by pro-actively working with service providers, health and social services professionals and Alzheimers NZ and its members to achieve the goals promoted by Alzheimers NZ in Dementia: A Strategic Framework.
What will you do to encourage and promote a dementia-friendly NZ?
The Green Party acknowledges that the stigma associated with dementia frequently discourages sufferers and/or their families from obtaining an early diagnosis and seeking help. Ageism also plays a role in reinforcing the stigma associated with dementia.
The Greens acknowledge the success of destigmatisation programmes such as Like Minds Like Mine, and in Government will support a similar programme targeted at destigmatising dementia.
What will you do to strengthen community and home-based support for people affected by dementia?
The Green Party supports people with dementia and their families having choice over how they are cared for, including the choice to be cared for at home by a family member. In many cases this is the best way for people with dementia to continue to lead an active social life and be in contact with their loved ones.
The Greens consider the National-led Government’s Carer Payments scheme for family carers is a discriminatory disgrace which is a disincentive for many people with dementia and their families to take up the home care option. The Greens are committed when in Government to urgently reviewing the scheme with regard to each of eligibility for entitlement, equity of payment and access to judicial process by those dissatisfied with entitlement decisions to ensure that home care is a viable option for all people with dementia that do not need the specialist hospital services that only residential aged care can provide.
The Green Party is also acutely aware that over the past six years the Government has under-funded health services by hundreds of millions of dollars, eroding the capacity and quality of many services, including home-based support, respite and day-support services. We are committed to ensuring that Health sector funding keeps pace with increasing health need, and to particularly increasing the resources for the community-based services that will enable more people living with dementia to remain living at home.
What will you do to lift the quality of care and support for people affected by dementia?
The Green Party supports the use of a standardised and comprehensive assessment tool such as InterRAI across the whole of the aged care sector. The Greens in Government will commit to funding the rollout and ongoing costs of InterRAI in the aged residential care sector on the same basis as it is funded in the community aged care sector.
The Green Party supports increasing the minimum wage progressively over the next three years to eventually reach a living wage of two thirds of the average wage. On current figures, that equates to around $18.80 an hour. Such an increase will help improve staff retention in aged residential care, and thereby the quality of care that residents receive. The Greens recognise that the aged care sector does not have the capacity to meet this increase in the minimum wage without reducing staffing levels and compromising standards of care. We are therefore committed to increasing Government funding to the age care sector to ensure that standards of care in aged care facilities are maintained or improved as aged care workers are transitioned to a living wage.
The Green Party affirms that caring for disabled or chronically ill family members, including those with dementia, is work, irrespective of whether the carer is paid. All New Zealanders deserve to have a work-life balance and to be able to take some time off from work, paid or unpaid, to relax and pursue their own personal interests. The Greens therefore support reviewing the respite care policy to remove barriers to uptake of respite care.
The Green Party is committed to implementing the 2012 recommendations of the Human Rights Commission in its report Caring counts: Report of the Inquiry into the Aged Care Workforce, including those relating to staff qualifications, safety standards, and consumer information for residential care facilities.
How will you increase the investment in research into dementia?
The Greens support the research into dementia being undertaken by Brain Research NZ. We are aware that some of the funding for that research is from a contestable source (CoRE) and therefore may not be ongoing. We are prepared to commit to continuing funding for dementia research at current levels. While we view increasing funding for dementia research favourably, as a Party outside Government we are not prepared to give a categorical commitment to a funding increase without knowledge of competing bids for funding from the potential Government sources that could fund increased dementia research. However, we recognise our comparatively low rate of funding for dementia research internationally, and understand that money put into prevention and delaying of chronic disease is usually more cost-effective than treatment in the long term.
How will you establish New Zealand’s leadership role in respect of dementia?
Internationally, The Green Party is committed to New Zealand being an active member of the Global Alzheimer's and Dementia Alliance.
Domestically, as our population ages and dementia rates rise, it is imperative that our health system is ready to cope, with clear treatment pathways, qualified health professionals at all levels, from GPs looking out for symptoms to specialist tertiary services and quality end-of-life care, and the necessary resources to cope. The Green Party believes that anticipating health problems early helps us take responsibility for them in the long term and preserve the quality of people’s lives.
Authorised by Kevin Hague MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington
For our the full briefing paper and responses from other parties, click here.
Site by Kudos Web
Ctrl + 1 Home
Ctrl + 2 About Dementia
Ctrl + 3 Get Support
Ctrl + 4 Get Involved
Ctrl + 5 News & Info
Ctrl + 6 Who we are
Ctrl + 7 Contact us
Ctrl + 8 Donate
Ctrl + 9 Search