From then to now: Insights from Dementia Support Australia

Behaviours that occur in the context of dementia can significantly impact the wellbeing of the person living with dementia, their carers and those around them. Unfortunately, many of these behaviours are caused by factors external to the person, such as undiagnosed or mismanaged pain. These causes are, however, largely modifiable through psychosocial interventions, and as such remain the primary avenue for supporting people with behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). 

This session discusses the history, outcomes and insights from the Dementia Support Australia (DSA) program. DSA is the leading national provider of 'boots-on-the-ground' behaviour support for people living with dementia. In line with best practice and clinical guidelines, DSA provides non-pharmacological and person-centred recommendations with an emphasis on the de-prescribing of inappropriate medications. 

Specifically, this paper will describe who has been supported by DSA and the impact of the program on BPSD and medications. We will also discuss the economic benefits of the program on downstream health utilisation and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living with dementia and how DSA supported them during this time. 

These findings will be reported in the wider context of learnings from the DSA program, and how these can benefit not only people supported by DSA but all people living with dementia.