SDCP Assessment Pathways

DC EDM 800

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.

HammondCare in partnership with the University of New South Wales is currently developing a robust eligibility criteria, and a clear clinical assessment pathway to guide objective clinical decision making concerning entry to and exit from the SDCP. In addition, the decision making tool and clinical pathway will be used to help ensure that access to the service is fair and equitable for all eligible people living with dementia throughout Australia.

In order to meet the eligibility criteria for entry to a SDCP, a person’s current presentation of responsive behaviours needs to be primarily related to a dementia diagnosis. An expert reference group consisting of medical professionals, consumers and policy makers has been established to help guide the development of the decision making tool.


 Expert reference group and representative 

Chairperson, Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty (NSW)

LASA - State Manager, Veronica Jamison (Victoria)

ACSA - Policy Development Officer, Fiona Panizzon (South Australia)

FPOA - Dr Helen McGowan (WA)

WA Department of Health - Senior Policy Officer, Andrea Lomman (WA)

Stream Lead for Metro South (QLD), Aged Care and Rehabilitation, Director of Geriatric Medicine PAH, Dr Paul Varghese (QLD)

Clinical Director, Aged Person’s Mental Health, Professor Kuruvilla George (Victoria)

Consumer Representative, Person living with dementia, Theresa Flavin

Carer of a person with dementia (former), Joan Jackman

Dementia Australia - Executive Director Consumer Engagement, Policy and Research, Kaele Stokes (Victoria)

BaptistCare - Dementia Care Nurse, Marleina Fahey (NSW)

University of Sydney - Professor Lee Fay Low


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.