Phase 1 evaluation of the national Severe Behaviour Response Team program

Phase 1 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 with extreme and 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. Phase 1 of the SBRT ran from November 2015 to June 2016, after which time it has been funded for a further three years. Similarly, the evaluation was extended beyond Stage 1 for a further fifteen months to end in September 2017.

What we did

The evaluation accommodated several shifts in focus during 2016 in response to changes that were occurring within the aged care sector regarding support for people living in residential aged care facilities experiencing severe BPSD. These changes included confirmation of the continued funding for the SBRT and the extension of its evaluation, as well as a major re-auspicing of the Dementia Behaviour Management Services which is the referral portal for clients to the SBRT.

Given the innovative nature of the SBRT service model, the first major activity of the evaluation was a targeted international literature review of similar service models and best practice against which the activities of the SBRT could be compared. The review identified five core features of similar rapid-response services which have been incorporated within the evaluation framework. Findings were presented in poster-form at the Australian Association of Gerontology National Conference in November 2016.

The extension of time to conduct the evaluation has allowed for enhanced data collection activities. Additional funding has been provided to increase the number of site visits to ensure a broader range of facilities and geographical locations. In addition, two new telephone surveys have been added to the project: the first targeting 50 facilities nationally that have not yet utilised the SBRT in order to understand the broader context in which people with BPSD are supported by aged care facilities, and the second targeting 50 facilities that have used the SBRT to ascertain their experience of the service. These activities were clarified and received ethics approval late in the year, and will be the focus of activity in 2017.

The international literature revealed five core features of successful rapid-response services: each has a clear remit and processes, utilises clinical expertise as well as knowledge translation activities, is underpinned by person-centred philosophy and relationship oriented approaches, and includes strategies to ensure outcomes are generalisable and sustainable.

Last reviewed: 1 June, 2017

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