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Amendments to User Rights Principles: New Specialist Dementia Care Program announced

13 Dec 2018

The Department of Health has announced a new Australian Government initiative, the Specialist Dementia Care Program (SDCP), to assist providers with caring for individuals with Dementia who demonstrate severe behavioural and psychological symptoms.

To give effect to the SDCP, the User Rights Amendment (Specialist Dementia Care Program) Principles 2018 were introduced and amended the User Rights Principles 2014. The relevant amendments came into effect on 13 December 2018.

Importantly, the relevant amendments will only affect an approved provider’s responsibility to provide security of tenure to care, recipients, as it applies to recipients of specialist dementia care under the SDCP.

Purpose of SDCP

The SDCP aims to provide a person-centred, multidisciplinary approach to caring for individuals with dementia with a large focus on the individuals who exhibit very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia who are unable to be appropriately cared for in mainstream aged care services.

This specialist dementia care will be delivered by existing approved providers in dedicated units within residential care services. The care will be time-limited and provide intensive, specialised residential care with a focus on stabilising and reducing the person’s dementia-related symptoms over time with the aim of enabling the transition to a less intensive care setting.

The amendments will introduce additional circumstances where a residential care recipient who is receiving specialist dementia care can be required to leave a residential care service or be moved to another room within the service. Providers will, however, still be required to comply with the requirements of finding suitable alternative accommodation and provide appropriate notice when asking a care recipient to leave.

What this means for providers

Providers will be asked in early 2019 to tender for grant opportunities to participate in the SDCP. This initial tender process will advertise 14 specialist dementia care units and aim to have the first units operational in 2020. A second funding round will follow in 2021-2022 for an additional 20 units.

Questions?

The content of this report is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. If you are interested in obtaining further advice in relation to the Specialist Dementia Care Program, please contact Julie McStay, Director – Aged Care and Retirement Living, Hynes Legal.

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