RACGP aged care clinical guide (Silver Book)

Silver Book - Part C

Specialist Dementia Care Program

Last revised: 28 Jul 2023

The SDCP supports people with very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia who cannot be cared for in a mainstream RACF. The SDCP funds specialist dementia care units in RACFs to provide this specialised care. The aim of the program is to reduce or stabilise symptoms so that people can move into less intensive care settings. 

The SDCP provides:

  • person-centred care from staff with dementia training
  • support from specialist services
  • a small, cottage-like, dementia-friendly living environment.

The program aims to:

  • provide best-practice care, without restraints, in a dementia-friendly environment
  • reduce or stabilise a person’s behavioural and psychological symptoms within 12 months, on average
  • support the person’s move into less intensive care settings when they no longer need SDCP care
  • work alongside state and territory government services, the DBMAS and SBRTs
  • improve the quality of life of people living with very severe dementia.

Table 1 provides information about current SDCPs that currently exist in Australia. The Federal Government aims to establish 35 SDCP units nationally, with a unit in each of the 31 PHN regions. It is advised that you check the Department of Health and Aged Care website for updates about SDCP units.

Table 1. Specialist dementia care programs in Australia as of June 2023
State/territory Provider
Uniting Church in Australia, Uniting Eabrai, Wilkinson Cottage, Weston, ACT
Uniting Church in Australia, Uniting Eabrai, Richards Cottage, Weston, ACT
HammondCare Cardiff
HammondCare, Southwood
HammondCare, Horsley – anticipated operational date August 2023
HammondCare, Erina – anticipated operational date August 2023
Alzheimer’s Association of Queensland Inc., Garden City Aged Care Service, Upper Mt Gravatt
Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane, St Martin’s Nursing Home, Taigum
Good Shepherd Lodge Ltd, Good Shepherd Lodge, Mackay
Uniting Communities Inc., Aldersgate, Felixstow
HammondCare Repat Health Precinct, Daw Park
HammondCare Caulfield
Wintringham, McLean Lodge Hostel, Flemington
Villa Maria Catholic Homes, St Bernadette’s Residential Aged Care Facility, Sunshine North
Barwon Health, Geelong – anticipated operational date October 2023
Blue Cross, Broughtonlea – anticipated operational date December 2023
Brightwater Care Group, The Village
Hall and Prior, McDougall Park – anticipated operational date January 2024

Entry requirements for the SDCP are dependent on a needs-based assessment that is outlined on the Dementia Support Australia website. The website provides a process step through to assist your referral. 

You can contact a Dementia Support Australia consultant on 1800 699 799 for 24 hour support for further information or make a referral on their webpage, and they will be in touch within 48 hours.


A person is eligible for an SDCP if:

  • they have dementia
  • they have very severe behavioural or psychological symptoms of dementia, which may include:
    • aggression
    • severe agitation
    • vocalisation, such as talking constantly, cursing or screaming
    • severe depression or anxiety
    • being suicidal
  • the behaviours have lasted at least three months
  • other specialist services have not been able to reduce the behaviours
  • they have had an ACAT assessment (refer to Part C: My Aged Care for further information about ACAT assessments).
This event attracts CPD points and can be self recorded

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