This study performed a systematic review of the dementia ‘key worker’ or ‘support worker’ model in Australia and internationally. The role of the key worker or support worker in dementia care is to assist people who have memory loss and dementia to continue to live meaningful lives in the community.

The project provides important evidence that informs:

  • The essential features that are effective for support worker roles/interventions
  • Reform currently underway in the Australian health, aged and disability sectors, including the Primary Health Networks
  • Consumer directed care
  • Evidence on these roles for Medicare Locals, Dementia Australia and other advocacy bodies, community nursing groups and other partner organisations

The study examined a variety of roles and models of support, including these role titles: support workers, key workers, case managers, care managers, Admiral Nurses, dementia advisors, and team-based integrated care roles.


Renehan, E., Goeman, D., & Koch, S. (2017). Development of an optimised key worker framework for people with dementia, their family and caring unit living in the community. BMC health services research, 17(1), 501.


Goeman, D., Comans, T., Enticott, J. C., Renehan, E., Beattie, E., Kurrle, S., & Koch, S. (2016). Evaluating the Efficacy of the “Support for Life” Program for People with Dementia and Their Families and Carers’ to Enable Them to Live Well: A Protocol for a Cluster Stepped Wedge Randomized Controlled Trial. Frontiers in Public Health, 4.

Goeman, D., Renehan, E., & Koch, S. (2016). What is the effectiveness of the support worker role for people with dementia and their carers? A systematic review. BMC Health Services Research, 16(1), 285.



Final Report

Summary report: What is the Effectiveness of the Support Worker Role for People with Dementia and their Carers/Family living in the Community?


Dr Susan Koch