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Informed consent a must for vaccinations in aged care to boost protection and assurance

Dementia Australia has welcomed the COVID-19 vaccination booster program to commence in residential aged care homes this week.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM said people living with dementia are some of the most vulnerable people in our community who have been at heightened risk of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.

The impact of vaccinations throughout 2021 has provided some assurance to residents, families, and staff in reducing their risk of developing serious symptoms,” Ms. McCabe said.

“The vaccination booster now available to all will contribute further protection making the environment safer for all – for the individuals, other residents, staff, family, and visitors.”

With more than two-thirds of aged care residents living with moderate to severe cognitive impairment, it is essential to clear communication, and enough time is provided to enable informed consent.

“The consent process must allow a person living with dementia or cognitive impairment time to digest the information, ask questions, and perhaps consult with a family carer,” Ms. McCabe said.

“This also allows time for the staff to consult with and obtain consent from a substitute decision-maker or guardian if required.

“It is important for all residential aged care providers to ensure the teams administering the vaccinations are suitably supported to determine a resident’s capacity to provide informed consent for the booster program.

“Another crucial element of the process is ensuring staff knows what to look for and what to do if a resident who is living with dementia or a cognitive impairment experiences an adverse vaccination reaction.

“People living with dementia or cognitive impairment may not always be able to communicate adverse reactions.”
Dementia Australia supports mandatory vaccinations across the aged care sector and urges people living with dementia or mild cognitive impairment, their families and carers, to receive all the recommended COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible.

Beginning Monday 8 November, booster vaccines will be available for all aged care residents and staff who have completed their primary course (two doses) of a COVID-19 vaccination at least six months earlier.

Anyone with questions or concerns for themselves or a loved one is welcome to call the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500.

Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education, and services for the estimated half a million Australians living with dementia, and the almost 1.6 million people involved in their care. We advocate for positive change and support vital research. We are here to support people impacted by dementia, and to enable them to live as well as possible. No matter how you are impacted by dementia or who you are, we are here for you.

For support, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500. An interpreter service is available and the Helpline is open 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. The National Dementia Helpline is funded by the Australian Government. People looking for information can also visit 

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