Author: Editor

Tech advances in 2016 bring us a step closer to ending cancer, dementia: former Apple CEO

Former Apple CEO, John Sculley, believes that dementia could be ‘solved’ by mid century thanks to a combination of advances in technology and medicine throughout 2016. In an interview with the tech news service,, Mr Sculley said developments like Crispr, machine learning and precision medicine will enable the cure – and prevention – of diseases like cancer and dementia in the coming decades. Crispr/Cas9 is a gene editing technology that enables scientists to remove and replace genes in cells more easily than ever before. It has been likened to the introduction of the PC in terms of shaping history. While fraught with ethical considerations, one use of the technology is to identify human gene targets for medical trials of new medicines and vaccines. This week a study was published by the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in which scientists from Whitehead Institute, the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard used Crispr to identify three promising new targets for treatment of HIV infection. Earlier this year a scientist in the UK was given approval by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Association (HFEA) to use Crispr to permanently modify DNA in a human embryo.  The approval came with the specific caveat that the embryos donated were for research only, could not be implanted in a woman and had to be destroyed after 14 days. The research developments made in 2016 alone could see...

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New laws for retirement village operators in the ACT

New legislation impacting retirement village operators in the ACT has come into effect that will allow marketing of new developments prior to approval and more binding holding deposit arrangements. The Property Council has summarised the main changes to the the Retirement Villages Amendment Act 2016, which were enacted from 16 December, as being: Operators are now required to expressly include in the Disclosure Statement that a former occupant of a unit is not liable to refurbish the unit; Operators can enter into more binding holding deposit arrangements with prospective residents, and may retain the reasonable costs incurred from leaving the unit empty if a prospective resident decides not to move; A requirement to give at least 60 days notice to a resident of any proposed change to recurrent charges, and removal of CPI as a measure for increases; Introduction of an internal dispute resolution process for residents, including responsibility for setting up a disputes committee for operator-resident disputes (with one member appointed by the residents, one member appointed by the operator and a mutually agreed chair); Ability for an operator to market a new village which development approval has not yet been obtained (although no contract can be entered into until approval has been obtained); An update to the general enquiry document to include a statement explaining the difference between a retirement village and a residential aged care facility; The full details...

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Funding confirmed for dementia care units but not how it will be allocated

Specialist Dementia Care Units will be established in each of the 31 Primary Health Network regions across Australia over the next four years, though it is not yet clear how funding from the Department of Health for the units will be allocated. The Government confirmed its $7.5m election commitment to establish the units in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) last week. HammondCare Chief Executive Dr Stephen Judd said the commitment to establish specialist dementia care units have been “the missing link in dementia care in Australia” and will enable better targeted care. “While the Severe Behaviour Response Teams (SBRTs) and the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) provide on-the-ground, expert clinical support and case management, special care units are needed to provide additional specialist residential support,” he said Dr Judd said he understood 372 places in specialist dementia care units will be made available over the next four years, indicating that Dementia Support Australia, a partnership led by HammondCare, is already involved in planning of the units. In September it was announced that HammondCare would lead a consortium to deliver the new Dementia Support Australia service, replacing the existing state-based Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) while the Dementia Training Study Centres and the Dementia Care Essentials program would be consolidated under Dementia Training Australia and led by dementia educators and trainers from five universities and Alzheimer’s Australia WA.     Dr Judd said a key priority...

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Aura announces its next retirement village in Queensland

A new a 116-unit retirement village will open on the Sunshine Coast in 2019, directly opposite a brand new not-for-profit aged care facility. According to a report by the Australian Financial Review, Aura, a joint venture between former RetireAustralia executives and Blue Sky Alternative Investments, will manage the Maroochydore village but it will be developed by Blue Sky’s Private Real Estate arm. Across the road from the site, St Vincent’s Care Services is about to open the doors of its new residential care facility next month. The land on which the $67 million retirement village will be built is just under one hectare in size and was purchased for $6 million. It is the second of six sites that Aura has earmarked for retirement living units that will give the company an 800-unit portfolio. In September, Aura made its first purchase – the PresCare Kingsford Terrace retirement village in southwest Brisbane and announced it would expand the project from 34 to 250 independent living units. It is expected to be finished in 2021. Blue Sky Private Real Estate director, Stuart Lockhart, told The Financial Review that investment in retirement villages was not keeping up with the ageing population, and Queensland will need four times the current supply of independent living units to meet demand by...

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