Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4325 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
The aim of these changes is to enable Community Care to offer improved services in aged day care from 8 January 2003 for clients who have dementia and from 20 January for the remaining clients. The hours of operation will be extended, with the specific focus on respite for carers, and dementia assessment and appropriate support and treatment programs. Clients will have access to aged care and therapeutic rehabilitation.
Relocation to the larger health centres will also mean that clients will have improved access to allied health services such as physiotherapy, nutrition, occupational therapy, nursing services and podiatry. This will provide opportunities for these older people to regain and maintain independence. It will also provide information and advice for carers and general practitioners.
Relocation of these services will also ensure client and staff safety. The Dickson and Narrabundah facilities were not safe for older people with dementia who may wander. At Tuggeranong and Belconnen health centres there are secure sections that will facilitate ACT Community Care's ability to accept clients who have high-care or dementia respite needs. ACT Community Care staff is able to look after people who have these high-care needs and these centres will also be able to open for longer periods within current staffing levels. To meet community demands, the hours at the aged day-care centres at Tuggeranong and Belconnen will be increased on an incremental basis so as not to introduce too many changes for clients in the first instance. Transport will continue to be provided for those requiring assistance. I can assure you that everything is being done to make these changes as smooth as possible for all clients and their carers.
Mr Speaker, in summary, I would like to recap on the positive outcomes of the relocation of these aged day-care centres. These are: better targeting of services to ensure that care is available for older people with high-care or dementia respite needs; longer opening hours; improved access to allied health services such as physiotherapy, nutrition, occupational therapy, nursing services and podiatry; a specific focus on respite for carers, dementia assessment and appropriate support and treatment programs; a safer environment for older people and staff; and a much better focussed service provision by the public sector.
This government has a strong and ongoing commitment to older people. Our plan for the care of older Canberrans seeks to create an inclusive community where older people feel safe and valued, and aims to achieve healthy ageing outcomes for seniors.
We are committed to an aged day-care service that is safe and aims to provide opportunities for older people to receive the best possible outcomes from their time in those centres. These changes will achieve better outcomes for each of these clients and they will achieve better outcomes for the community. The motion should not be supported.
MS DUNDAS (9.25): The ACT Democrats welcome this opportunity to discuss the closure-or "relocation", as the minister has put it-of the two aged day-care centres in Narrabundah and Dickson. I am not necessarily interested in entering the debate on closure versus relocation, but it does appear that the centres at Narrabundah and Dickson will close their doors and I think that is the key point that we are discussing today.