A series of national forums has begun this week to inform the eligibility and assessment pathway for residents of the network of dementia care units for people with symptoms too severe for mainstream services.

As reported by Australian Ageing Agenda in December, Western Australian aged care provider Brightwater Care Group will begin operating a prototype service for the government’s Specialist Dementia Care Program (SDCP) later this year.

The program will establish 35 units of specialist dementia care for people experiencing very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia across the country with at least one unit in each of the 31 Primary Health Networks.

The Department of Health is funding dementia specialists HammondCare and the University of New South Wales to develop eligibility criteria and a clinical assessment pathway to guide decision making for entry to and exit from the program.

The decision making tool and clinical pathway aim to help ensure that access to the service is fair and equitable.

Referrals for entry to the SDCP will be made directly to the Severe Behaviour Response Teams.

HammondCare kicked off a series of roundtable discussions for potential referrers this week to share key information about the program and to seek input on the development and refinement of the eligibility and assessment tool.

Roundtables took place in Brisbane on Monday and Darwin on Wednesday. The remaining six will take place over the next fortnight in:

  • Canberra on 26 February
  • Melbourne on 27 February
  • Hobart on 1 March
  • Adelaide on 4 March
  • Perth on 5 March
  • Sydney on 7 March

The prototype service will be operational by July 2019. Opportunities for the next 14 units are expected to be advertised early 2019, with the first units to become operational in 2020.

To find out more about the roundtables and to register, visit the Dementia Centre website.

Find out more about the SDCP on the department’s website here.

Related coverage

$70m a year for high need dementia network

Brightwater to pilot specialist dementia units

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