The Nightingale Program: Providing dementia-specific palliative care support

The Nightingale Program: Providing dementia-specific palliative care support

An article written by Jayne Littledike, Team Leader, Nightingale Program, Dementia Australia

What is the Nightingale Program?

The Nightingale Program is a palliative model of care, provided by specialist nurses and occupational therapists. The program began in South Australia but has recently expanded into New South Wales. It’s available free of charge and provides strategies and advice to support people living with advanced dementia, their families and care providers, with a focus on promoting choice, well-being and forward planning.

The Nightingale Program nurse role

The program supports people impacted by dementia living at home, in residential aged care and community settings. It does this by offering a specialist nurse as the single point of contact, the Nightingale Program nurse. The Nightingale Program nurse uses a person-centred approach to develop care strategies to enable people living with dementia to:

• Stay at home longer and maximise their independence.

• Promote quality of life and positive relationships.

• Have a voice in their future care options and decision making.

• Avoid unnecessary presentations to acute hospital settings.

• Have clinical advice including pain management and delirium.

Benefits of the Nightingale Program

There are a number of benefits people impacted by the advanced stages of dementia and their families can receive from the Nightingale Program. These include:

• Specialist, comprehensive nursing assessment and advice.

• Identifying current issues, anticipating changing needs.

• Referrals to other service providers as needed.

• Continuity of care, offering a single point of contact for guidance.

• Consultation in developing advance care directives for future health care needs.

• Education and emotional support for family and carers.

For more information or to get in touch

Anyone interested in accessing the program can call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 (24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year). You can also use Dementia Australia’s service enquiry/referral request form or Download the Nightingale Program brochure.

The Nightingale Program in South Australia is funded by The Rosemary Foundation for Memory Support and Country SA PHN.



Jayne Littledike

Team Leader, Nightingale Program

Dementia Australia



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The views and opinions expressed in Palliative Perspectives are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.