SDCP Assessment Pathways

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Dementia Support Australia (DSA) is running a free webinar, Spotlight on SDCP on 20 November to provide information about access, eligibility and expectations for carers in referring someone with dementia into service for a needs based assessment. Register here to join the conversation with Associate Professor Colm Cunningham, Professor Steve Macfarlane and a Department of Health representative.

Assessment Pathways: Specialist Dementia Care Program 

The Specialist Dementia Care Program (SDCP) is a new Australian Government initiative which aims to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of people who are living with dementia and exhibiting severe and enduring behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), sometimes referred to as responsive behaviours.

The SDCP targets people with dementia who are unable to be appropriately cared for by the majority of aged care services and uses a person-centred, multidisciplinary approach. The program aims to improve a person’s presentation of responsive behaviours over time with the aim of enabling their transition to a less intensive care setting. It is estimated that up to one per cent of all people living with dementia will be in need of this service which is represented at tier 6 on the Brodaty, Draper and Low (2003) model of management for BPSD.

During 2018-19 HammondCare, with the Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty at the University of New South Wales, worked with an Expert Reference Group to develop robust eligibility criteria and a clear clinical assessment pathway, to guide objective clinical decision-making concerning entry to and exit from the SDCP. Following pilot testing during August and September, this decision-making tool and clinical pathway are being used to help ensure that access to SDCPs is fair and equitable for all eligible people living with very severe dementia throughout Australia.

In order to meet the eligibility criteria for entry to an SDCP, a person’s current presentation of responsive behaviours needs to be primarily related to a dementia diagnosis.

As new SDCP services come online, we will be running a series of webinars and forums to inform aged care providers, mental health professionals, peak health and aged care organisations, carers of people with dementia and state and territory government departments, about the new services, how to access them and what to expect. The ‘Spotlight on SDCP’ events will run at regular intervals from 2019 to 2021, and will be supported by a quarterly e-newsletter.

Following on from two webinars held in January 2019, a third webinar Spotlight on SDCP - access, eligibility and expectations is being held on 20 November. Register online here.


Assessment Pathways: Specialist Dementia Care Program Update

HammondCare in conjunction with the University of New South Wales has now held two webinars (16th and 18th January 2019) and a series of Round Tables (during February and March 2019) in each Australian state and territory capital city, informing stakeholders about their role within the Specialist Dementia Care Program. If you were unable to attend either of these events and would like further information about the content that was discussed, please see below.

Specialist Dementia Care Program: Assessment Pathway power point slides

Find out more   

For more information on the SDCP Assessment Project, please visit the Department of Health website or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive updates.

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government.