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Applications open for specialist dementia units


The federal government has announced the locations and funding round for 12 new specialist dementia care units and the allocation of a further two units to specialist dementia provider HammondCare.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt announced on Friday that applications for the first competitive round of tenders under the Specialist Dementia Care Program will open on Tuesday.

HammondCare will be invited to apply to operate two additional units through a closed non-competitive grant opportunity, he said.

The SCDP, which is supported by a $70 million per year investment, is establishing 35 units for people experiencing very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) across the country with at least one unit in each of the 31 Primary Health Networks.

The program aims to provide a transitional service for residents unable to be appropriately cared for in mainstream residential aged care facilities to help stabilise their behaviours and symptoms so they can move into a less intensive care setting.

As reported by Australian Ageing Agenda in December, Western Australian aged care provider Brightwater Care Group won the tender to operate a prototype service at ‘The Village’ in Perth. The unit is due to be operational by mid-2019.

Grant opportunities for the next 12 units are open to approved providers with an accredited facility to run a specialist unit within a broader residential aged care facility.

Under this round, aged care providers can apply for approximately $1 million of funding per year for an eight-bed unit in the following PHNs:

  • Central and Eastern Sydney
  • South Eastern NSW
  • Country WA
  • Northern Territory
  • Tasmania
  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Brisbane South
  • Brisbane North
  • Northern Qld
  • Central Qld Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast
  • North Western Melbourne
  • Adelaide

HammondCare secures two units

On Friday, Minister Wyatt also announced that two new villages being constructed by HammondCare in Caulfield, Victoria, and Cardiff, NSW, respectively will each include a specialist dementia care cottage expected to be funded under the SDCP.

“The Government has decided to invite HammondCare to apply for a grant for the provision of these two units. This will be done through a closed non-competitive grant opportunity,” Mr Wyatt told AAA.

“The final decision to award a grant to HammondCare to provide these units will be made in accordance with the Commonwealth Grant Rules and Guidelines 2017,” he said.

HammondCare chief executive Dr Stephen Judd said the two SDCP units were a welcome implementation of better targeted support for people with severe BPSD.

Dr Judd said HammondCare’s 12-year experience in operating a specialist dementia care unit and program in its Southwood dementia care home in Sydney’s south west and the imminent completion of new dementia specific, cottage-style care homes in Caulfield and Cardiff created a unique opportunity to move ahead with the SDCP roll-out.

“This really is very important because a network of specialist dementia care units has been the missing link in dementia care in Australia,” Dr Judd said.

“Our experience has shown that SDCPs can provide care for people with severe symptoms of dementia who otherwise cannot be well supported in mainstream residential care.”

Selection process

Mr Wyatt said the PHNs in this round were selected in consultation with states and territories.

“The selection process will be conducted in consultation with states and territories to ensure specialist clinicians are available to provide services in the proposed location,” he said.

Applications for this round open on 2 April 2019 and close on 28 May 2019.

The 14 units are expected to be operational from around April 2020.

Applications for a second competitive round for the remaining units is expected to be advertised in early 2021.

View the grant opportunity on the GrantConnect website here.

Related coverage

Consultation underway to support specialist dementia program

$70m a year for high need dementia network

Brightwater to pilot specialist dementia units

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