About the program

The SDCP supports people with very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia who cannot be cared for in a mainstream residential aged care facility.

The SDCP provides specialised care for people:

  • who live with very severe dementia complicated by physical aggression or other behaviours
  • whose residential care facility or carers cannot manage the behaviours, even with help from other services

The SDCP provides:

  • person-centred care from staff with dementia training
  • support from specialist services
  • a small, cottage-like, dementia-friendly living environment

Goals

The program aims to:

  • provide best-practice care, without restraints, in a dementia-friendly environment
  • reduce or stabilise a person’s behavioural and psychological symptoms within 12 months, on average
  • support the person’s move into less intensive care settings when they no longer need SDCP care
  • work alongside state and territory government services, the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service, and Severe Behaviour Response Teams
  • improve quality of life for people living with very severe dementia

Living environments can have a big impact on quality of life for people living with dementia. SDCP units will be designed to:

  • be tailored to people living with very severe dementia
  • promote familiarity, stimulation and independence
  • reduce risks

The SDCP works with key stakeholders to:

  • assess and refine the SDCP model
  • make sure the model provides the best possible care for people who have very severe dementia symptoms
  • form relationships with local health networks, acute mental health services and allied health services
  • draw on these relationships for expertise for clinical guidance and support when needed

Why it is important

We estimate that up to 1% of all people living with dementia:

  • have very severe behavioural or psychological symptoms
  • cannot be cared for in mainstream aged care services

It’s important we have services that can meet their specialised needs to:

  • help reduce and stabilise severe symptoms of dementia
  • improve their quality of life and independence

The number of people with dementia is rising in Australia. It’s important to help aged care services develop best practice care for all people with dementia.

Specialist Dementia Care Program (SDCP)

We will establish 35 SDCP units nationally, with a unit in each of the 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) regions.

 

Units in operation

State

Primary Health Network

Provider

Start date

Western Australian Perth North Brightwater Care Group, The Village

September 2019

New South Wales

Hunter New England and Central Coast

HammondCare Cardiff

January 2020

Victoria

South Eastern Melbourne

HammondCare Caulfield

January 2020

Victoria

North Western Melbourne

Wintringham, McLean Lodge Hostel, Flemington

August 2020

Victoria

North Western Melbourne

Villa Maria Catholic Homes, St Bernadette’s Residential Aged Care Facility, Sunshine North

August 2020

South Australia

Adelaide

Uniting Communities Inc, Aldersgate, Felixstow

April 2020

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital Territory

Uniting Church In Australia, Uniting Eabrai, Weston

July 2020

Queensland

Brisbane North

Corp. of the Synod of Brisbane, St Martin’s Nursing Home

July 2020

Queensland

Brisbane South

Alzheimer’s Association of Queensland Inc, Garden City Aged Care Service, Upper Mt Gravatt

March 2020

Queensland

North Queensland

Good Shepherd Lodge Ltd, Good Shepherd Lodge, Mackay

July 2020

Other units

HammondCare will set up a unit at the Repat site in South Australia. We expect this unit to be operational in 2022.

A funding round opened on 17 March and will close on 13 May 2022 to establish units in the following Primary Health Network regions:

  • New South Wales: (Hunter, New England and Central Coast; Central and Eastern Sydney; South Eastern NSW)
  • Western Australia (Perth South)
  • Victoria (Eastern Melbourne; Western Victoria)
  • South Australia (Adelaide)
  • Tasmania (northern and southern regions only)
  • Australian Capital Territory

You can find information on the grant opportunity on GrantConnect.

Future funding rounds will be advertised on GrantConnect over the next 2 years.

Eligibility

A person is eligible if:

  • they have dementia
  • they have very severe behavioural or psychological symptoms of dementia, which may include:
    • aggression
    • severe agitation
    • vocalisation, such as talking constantly, cursing or screaming
    • severe depression or anxiety
    • being suicidal
  • the behaviours have lasted at least 3 months
  • other specialist services have not been able to reduce the behaviours
  • they have had an ACAT assessment

Referring someone to the SDCP

Before you refer someone to a unit, find out about the entry requirements on the Dementia Support Australia website.

Anyone can make a referral by using the Dementia Support Australia referral form.

Referrals are open for all the units in operation.

The Specialist Dementia Care Program (SDCP) Information Booklet provides detailed information for families, carers and those looking for specialised care and support options for people who may be exhibiting very severe behaviours associated with their dementia. The booklet provides an overview of the key features of the SDCP including program eligibility, referral requirements and where to go to for support.

Specialist Dementia Care Program (SDCP) – Information Booklet

The Specialist Dementia Care Program (SDCP) Information Booklet provides information for families and carers looking for specialised dementia care support services. The booklet includes an overview of program eligibility and referral requirements and where to go to for further dementia support.

How the SDCP works

Program framework

Specialist Dementia Care Program Framework

This framework provides an overview of the Specialist Dementia Care Program’s model of care, service delivery principles, administration, roles and responsibilities. This framework may change as the program progresses.

Length of stay, fees and security of tenure

The length of stay in an SDCP unit varies for each person, generally up to 12 months.

When a person no longer needs the specialist care, SDCP providers will plan and support the person’s move into a less intensive care setting. Generally, this will be a bed within the provider’s facility. It depends on what the person or their representative wants. SDCP fees are the same as residential aged care fees.

To find out more, read this fact sheet.

Specialist Dementia Care Program – Length of Stay, Fees and Security of Tenure

This fact sheet sets out what must happen when a person enters a Specialist Dementia Care Program unit. It includes how long a stay can be and the fees and charges that apply. It also outlines what happens when they are ready to leave the unit.

Applying for funding as a provider

A funding round opened on 17 March and closes 13 May 2022 to establish units across the following 9 Primary Health Network regions:

  • New South Wales: (Hunter, New England and Central Coast; Central and Eastern Sydney; South Eastern NSW)
  • Western Australia (Perth South)
  • Victoria (Eastern Melbourne; Western Victoria)
  • South Australia (Adelaide)
  • Tasmania (northern and southern regions only)
  • Australian Capital Territory

You can find the grant opportunity on GrantConnect.

Approved residential aged care providers will be advised of future funding rounds when they are advertised on GrantConnect.

Register on GrantConnect for automatic emails about new grant opportunities.

Who we work with

The Department of Health develops program policy and manages the funding for the program.

A partnership agreement between the Australian Government and the state and territory governments provides the clinical support for the program.

Approved residential aged care providers can apply for program grants to set up units in their facility.

Contact

Specialist Dementia Care Program contact

If you have questions about the Specialist Dementia Care Program, contact the Specialist Dementia Care Section.

SDCP [at] health.gov.au

View contact

Last updated: 
28 April 2022