Timely assessments for Specialist Dementia Care across Australia

Caring for those living with dementia can be challenging. Changes in behaviour are common, with up to 95% of people living with dementia experiencing them. These may include episodes of significant agitation or aggression that may be very difficult to manage.

The complexity and severity of these behaviours means that some Australians living with dementia are unable to be cared for by mainstream residential care homes and require more support.

What to do when more help is needed
Specialist Dementia Care Programs (SDCPs) are eight-bed specialist care units tailored to the needs of individuals experiencing severe behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia. SDCPs have a focus on reducing or stabilising behaviours over time with the aim to ultimately transition the person with dementia back to mainstream residential care. In 2023, ten new Specialist Dementia Care Programs are planned to open within residential aged care sites across New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania which will sit alongside the nine units already in operation.

SDCPs are a borderless service – you don't need to reside within a particular local health district or primary health network to be eligible for placement. The closest SDCP is Uniting Communities Aldersgate. In addition, HammondCare SA Repat is anticipated to open in July 2023.

How does my patient or resident access a bed in a SDCP?
Eligibility assessment for the specialist care units is undertaken by Dementia Support Australia’s team of highly skilled dementia consultants who work with the person experiencing complex behaviours and their carers to understand the frequency, severity, and impact of what is happening. These assessments are the pathway that give SDCP providers the information they need to help them make decisions about placement within their units if the individual meets eligibility criteria. DSA determines eligibility and the SDCP determines appropriateness for placement within their unit.

With more units coming online this creates more options for placement, which is great news for supporting people with complex behaviours and dementia.

Want to know more – our Dementia Support Australia team would love to talk with you about referring to the program and the process for determining eligibility. Our goal is to support aged care providers to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia where behaviour impacts their care. Reach out to us today to learn more or get help.   

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