Evaluation of the national Severe Behaviour Response Team program

Evaluation of the national Severe Behaviour Response Team (SBRT) program

Duration: December 2015 – September 2017


The Severe Behaviour Response Team (SBRT) is a national emergency response program for residential aged care facilities to better support residents experiencing very severe behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). The SBRT considers the clinical factors that may underlie the behaviours as well as the care context – including staff skills and confidence as well as environmental design factors – that are known to impact on behaviour. In October 2016 HammondCare commenced national operations of the Dementia Behaviour Advisory Service that complements the SBRT and developed a national partnership called Dementia Support Australia (DSA).

What we did

The major data collection activities conducted during 2017 included telephone surveys of aged care facilities, national site visits, key stakeholder interviews and SBRT staff surveys. Telephone surveys of aged care homes were conducted during February – March 2017, designed to better understand the context in which the SBRT was operating, and to assist refinement of issues to be considered within the national site visits. A total of 46 care homes that had used SBRT services participated in the short survey, as well as another 53 care homes that had not used the service. During April – June 2017 the evaluation team conducted site visits to an additional 20 aged care homes that had used the SBRT. At each home between two and five semi-structured interviews were conducted involving managers, senior clinical and other care staff; evaluation team members were also provided with the opportunity to view the amenities at each aged care home. A total of 47 participants were interviewed; despite attempts at recruitment, it was not possible to interview SBRT clients or their family members. An online survey was developed to ascertain the perspectives of SBRT staff regarding the service, with 27 consultants responding to the survey. The final data collection activity for the evaluation was a series of targeted key stakeholder interviews conducted during June and July 2017. A total of 14 interviews were conducted with aged care sector, professional, consumer and policy representatives.

The evaluation also included the analysis of program data provided by the service. This included de-identified client data of 859 clients including risk assessment and general assessment data, as well as activities of SBRT staff in relation to those clients.

An important outcome of the evaluation was the identification of organisational factors that contribute to the presence of BPSDs, including workforce factors, resourcing and access to local specialist services. The final report was submitted in October 2017 and highlighted the major achievements of the SBRT service as well identifying opportunities for future service delivery, research and policy development.


Project team: Anita Westera, Dave Fildes, Rob Gordon, Sonia Bird, Cathy Duncan, Peter Samsa and Pam Grootemaat


Last reviewed: 3 August, 2018

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