Australian Government Programs to Support People Living with Dementia, and Their Support Networks

Page last updated: 15 February 2019

National Dementia Support Program

Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program

Dementia Education and Training for Carers

Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Services

Severe Behaviour Response Teams

Dementia Training Program

National Dementia Support Program (NDSP)

Under the NDSP, the Australian Government funds education programs, services and resources that aim to improve awareness and understanding about dementia and increase the skills and confidence of people living with dementia, their carers, families, health professionals, volunteers and community contacts. Services provided under the NDSP include:

  • National website https://www.dementia.org.au
  • National Dementia Helpline and Referral Service 1800 100 500*
  • One-to-one and small group counselling, access to support groups and information, and recommendations and referrals
  • Early intervention programs, for example the Living With Dementia program
  • Non-accredited training for professionals, carer education and training, and community education seminars
  • Public awareness raising, recognition and understanding of dementia.

* Free local call, calls from mobile and pay phones may incur extra charges. For people who do not speak English, the Translating and Interpreting Service (131 450) will provide translation and interpretation services for calls to the National Dementia Helpline.

The NDSP is funded under the Dementia and Aged Care Services fund.

Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program

The Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program provides key workers who act as a primary point of contact for people with younger onset dementia, their families and carers. This is delivered by Dementia Australia and is administered by the Department of Social Services and is gradually transitioning to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Further information is available on the DSS website.

Dementia Education and Training for Carers

The Dementia Education and Training for Carers (DETC) program aims to improve the quality of life of people living with dementia by increasing the competence and confidence of their carers. The program provides courses that aim to enhance carer skills, or processes that connect a carer to information. DETC is delivered through some Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres. Further information is available on the DSS website.

Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Services (DBMAS)

DBMAS provides support and advice to service providers and individuals caring for people living with dementia where behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are affecting a person’s care.

To get advice from DBMAS, call the 24 hour helpline 1800 699 799 (Free local call, calls from mobile and pay phones may incur extra charges) or visit the DBMAS website 

Dementia Support Australia (DSA) is the national provider of DBMAS.  DSA is an industry partnership led by HammondCare and also delivers the Severe Behaviour Response Teams.

Where a person is experiencing severe and extreme BPSD in a residential aged care setting, DBMAS can refer them to the Severe Behaviour Response Teams for additional support.

The DBMAS is funded under the Dementia and Aged Care Services fund.

Severe Behaviour Response Teams (SBRTs)

SBRTs are a mobile workforce of clinical experts who provide timely and expert advice to residential aged care providers that request assistance with addressing the needs of people with severe BPSD. SBRTs can assess the causes of the behaviours, assist care staff until the immediate crisis is resolved, develop a care plan to address and deal with behaviours, then provide follow up assistance and training as needed.

SBRT staff work face to face, over the phone and via video conferencing.

All referrals to the SBRTs must be made through the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS).

DBMAS has procedures in place to decide when the SBRT is the best service option or when DBMAS can provide the right support. For further information visit Dementia Support Australia website.

Specialist Dementia Care Program (SDCP)

The Specialist Dementia Care Program will establish 35 units within residential aged care services to provide a person-centred, multidisciplinary approach to care for people exhibiting very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia who are unable to be appropriately cared for by mainstream aged care services. The program will offer specialised, transitional residential support, focussing on reducing or stabilising symptoms over time, with the aim of enabling the person to move to less intensive care settings.  For further information visit the Specialist Dementia Care Program web page.

Dementia Training Program (DTP)

The Dementia Training Program, delivered by Dementia Training Australia (DTA), offers a national approach to accredited education, upskilling, and professional development in dementia care.

The DTP provides:

  • Continuing Professional Development training on dementia assessment, diagnosis and management to GPs, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, specialists, allied health and other relevant professionals as appropriate;
  • Accredited dementia care vocational level training courses – free to eligible care workers in residential, respite, community care or the wider health services; and
  • Tailored onsite training to aged care providers who request assistance, including a dementia skills and environment audit, followed by a tailored training package. These services may include an associated fee.

An online training portal allowing staff to undertake web-based training will also be available in the near future. 

For information about these services visit the DTA website, call (02) 4221 5555 or email dta@uow.edu.au

The DTP is funded under the Dementia and Aged Care Services fund.

Further Information