Repat desperately needed for severe dementia patients

A recent SA Health document reveals that South Australia is heading for a catastrophic shortage of beds for elderly patients with mental health issues and severe dementia and demonstrates the desperate need for Ward 18 at the Repat to be kept as a mental health facility.

SA Health’s The Oakden Response Models of Care Project details the need for 24 high dependency beds for people with extreme BPSD (Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia) (tier 7) and a further 120 beds for people with very severe BPSD (tier 6).

The closure of Oakden resulted in the loss of 62 beds for patients - so far only 16 of those beds have been replaced at Northgate.

“The Northgate facility caters for less that 10% of South Australians with high levels of BPSD.

“The Weatherill Government’s decision to place these patients in mainstream aged care facilities or keep them in hospitals is a high risk strategy,” said Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade.

“Waiting for the Weatherill Government to fulfil its vague promise to locate, design and build an aged care facility for people with BPSD is a recipe for disaster.

“Older people with severe dementia and mental health issues are likely to receive sub-optimal care in acute mental health facilities or in mainstream nursing homes for years to come.

“The Repat would be an excellent base for a service for South Australians with severe dementia and associated challenging behaviours.

“Closing Ward 18 at the very moment we desperately need it, is an obscene waste of taxpayers’ money.

“Ward 18 is a purpose-built older persons mental health facility constructed at a cost of $10 million.

“It is a valuable asset, only 10 years old, with a contemporary design so sound that the Weatherill Government is basically replicating it at the Flinders Medical Centre”.