SDCP Assessment Pathways

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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.

Spotlight on SDCP Webinar: Now available online

On 20th November Dementia Support Australia delivered a webinar with 3 panellists: A/Professor Colm Cunningham (Director, Dementia Centre), Dr Stephen Macfarlane (Head of Clinical Services, Dementia Centre) and Anne Vickers (Director, Specialist Dementia Care Program, Department of Health).

Over 400 people attended this Spotlight on SDCP: access, eligibility and expectations webinar including aged care providers, health professionals, aged care peak bodies, state and territory health departments and carers of people with severe dementia.

Our evaluation results reported as a result, 84% participants knew more about the SDCP, 98% knew more about the eligibility criteria and 96% understood DSA’s role in assessing needs, following attendance. There were also useful suggestions made on improvement for future webinars in 2020.

The webinar is now available to access via 11 highlighted topics: SDCP: access, eligibility and expectations

If you would like to subscribe to our Spotlight on SDCP e-newsletter, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Assessment for eligibility are now open in the following regions:

  • North Perth Metro
  • South East Melbourne
  • Hunter New England & Central Coast

We will update the regions once other sites come on line.


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.