04.06.01. Are there standards, guidelines or protocols for dementia? | South Africa

04.06.01. Are there standards, guidelines or protocols for dementia? | South Africa

14 Aug 2022

The South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP) has developed guidelines for treatment of a range of psychiatric disorders and has dedicated a chapter on Dementia. This document refers to the country’s private healthcare settings and provides guidelines for (a) the diagnosis, clinical characteristics, and course of the disease; (b) the assessment and differential diagnosis; as well as (c) treatment goals with clinical guidelines for the pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment of dementia (Emsley et al., 2013, p.141-152). Many who rely on public healthcare do not have access to many of the pharmacological treatments recommended by these guidelines (Emsley et al., 2013) as the public sector is characterised by constrained and limited resources and lack of specialist treatments and approaches particular to dementia.

In the public sector, there are also Standard Treatment Guidelines available from the National Department of Health that provide guidelines for the treatment of dementia and focuses primarily on pharmacological/medicine treatment (National Department of Health, 2020).

South Africa has a National Strategic plan for nurse education, training and practice (DOH, 2016), and approved competencies for nursing to provide care throughout the lifespan. However, these are not dementia-specific and support generic models for care at hospitals and other facilities.


DOH. (2016). The National Strategic Plan for Nurse Education, Training and Practice.

Emsley, R., & Seedat, S. (2013). The South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP) treatment guidelines for psychiatric disorders. South African Journal of Psychiatry, 19(3), 127–196. https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v19i3.942

National Department of Health. (2020). Primary healthcare Standard Treatment Guidelines And Essential Medicines List (7th ed). Available from: https://www.knowledgehub.org.za/elibrary/primary-healthcare-standard-treatment-guidelines-and-essential-medicines-list-7th-edition