The Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre has launched a new resource for aged care providers to develop policy and processes on supported decision-making.

The practical resource includes a self-audit tool for organisations to assess their current policies, an interactive case study for use with staff and a model policy framework with key areas for action.

The resource was developed in response to the findings of a research project that analysed the supported decision-making policies of seven aged care providers.

The project found organisational policies were often unclear and offered minimal guidance to staff on areas such as assessing the decision-making capacity of a person with dementia or defining the role of a substitute decision-maker.

The resource uses the national decision-making principles proposed by the Australian Law Reform Commission as a key guiding framework for developing best practice policies.

Supported decision-making aims to assist people with cognitive impairment to stay involved in decision-making about their healthcare and lifestyle and is an alternative model to using a substitute decision-maker.

The increasing prevalence of dementia among aged care clients and growing focus on consumer-directed care makes this an important area of focus for community and residential aged care providers, the resource said.

The researchers said the incoming single aged care quality standards also provide a framework for incorporating supported decision-making into policy and practice.

The project is led by the University of WA and partners are Helping Hand, Brightwater Care Group, Hammond Care, Dementia Australia, University of Technology Sydney, Western Sydney University and University of Sydney.

Download the resource here.

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