The Specialist Dementia Care Program (SDCP) is a new Australian Government initiative designed to provide best-practice care for people exhibiting very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Uniting Communities has been selected to deliver the SDCP in South Australia, based at Felixstow, and provides transitional, specialised dementia care for up to eight people in a separate, secure and purpose-designed facility.

The program provides a personalised, multidisciplinary approach to care for people whose behaviours may put themselves or others at risk, or otherwise mean they are unable to be appropriately cared for by mainstream aged care services. It aims to improve the quality of life of people living with severe dementia and assist with reducing or stabilising a person’s symptoms so they can transition back to a less intensive setting.

Who is eligible for the SDCP?

The SDCP is designed for people exhibiting very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. Eligibility for a place in the program is assessed by Dementia Support Australia’s Severe Behaviour Response Teams and eligibility requirements can be found here.

How is it different from other residential aged care options?

In an SDCP cottage, the living environment is tailored to people living with severe dementia. There is a focus on personalised care from staff with specialist dementia training, additional support from specialist services from SA Health in a small, cottage-like, dementia friendly living environment. The SDCP cottage promotes familiarity, stimulation and independence, as well as reduce risks to residents and staff.

How long can a resident stay in the SDCP?

The SDCP provides transitional and temporary support, with an expected length of stay between 6 and 18 months. Timeframes do vary from person to person and when a resident’s behavioural and psychological symptoms stabilise, the team at Magnolia Cottage will support clients to transition into a less intensive care setting.

What happens after transitioning out of the SDCP?

Once a resident is ready for transition, they will move to a mainstream residential care home, either close to family or at another suitable location. When the time comes, we’d like to help make the transition as smooth as possible. Before moving out, clients or their loved ones will need to accept a mainstream placement and we recommend determining your preferences early. This may include:

• a mainstream placement within a Uniting Communities Residential Aged Care home
• returning to the previous aged care home (if available)
• moving to a new aged care home of your choosing.

What are the costs?

The fee structure for the SDCP is the same as mainstream residential aged care. SDCP clients are required to contribute to care costs and accommodation, with no change to basic daily care fees or means tested fees.


To refer someone to be assessed for the SDCP please contact Dementia Support Australia on 1800 699 799 or click here .