Date: 9 February 2018
In 2016 the Department of Health (DoH) announced that it would establish Specialist Dementia Care Units (SDCUs) to support people who experience very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). The Government has committed to establishing at least one SDCU in each of the 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs). Each SDCU will offer 8-12 beds for people with very severe BPSD. It is therefore anticipated that 372 SDCU places will be operational by 2023-24.
The RACGP provided a submission to DoH on the development of the SDCU initiative. The RACGP identified a number of risks and issues for consideration by the Department prior to the introduction of SDCUs, and noted that there is limited evidence to inform a detailed SDCU operating model. Given the Australian Government's intention to implement this model of care, the RACGP stressed that GPs must be appropriately supported to work under this model.