Face-to-face support to access and navigate aged care will be the centrepiece of new services to help senior Australians.
The Morrison Government has committed in the Budget to provide face-to-face aged care support in 325 Services Australia centres, aged care specialists in 70 additional service centres and $93.7 million to introduce a network of up to 500 local “Community Care Finders” – staff in local organisations specifically charged with helping vulnerable senior Australians who need specialist support.
It marks another significant step forward as the Government responds to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
The Australian Government has today released the final report of the evaluation of the Aged Care System Navigator trials, which found local, face-to-face support is highly valuable to senior Australians accessing aged care.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, thanked the Council of the Ageing Australia (COTA) and its 30 partner organisations, as well as Services Australia for staging the trials, funded in the 2018–19 Budget.
“The trials involved COTA Australia and its partners delivering different ways of providing navigation support between October 2018 and June 2020 as well as Services Australia trialling specialist aged care financial information support,” Minister Hunt said.
“The COTA-led trials have been extended to June 2021 due to disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the Royal Commission’s investigation into issues, including navigating aged care, was ongoing.”
Minister Hunt said key findings in the report show users of the navigator service were satisfied with the experience, and reported improved knowledge and confidence in accessing aged care services.
“There are also positive findings around improved experience for senior Australians who may be hard to reach or part of vulnerable population groups.”
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck said the Morrison Government was committed to making access to aged care services easier.
“We understand the difficulties senior Australians, their families and carers have faced as they make the transition to care,” Minister Colbeck said. “This face-to-face support will ensure those seeking information will be able to tap into the knowledge of local experts.”
“The Royal Commission found that aged care required a much greater face-to-face presence to support access and utilisation, and now the Aged Care System Navigator trials evaluation supports that finding, it’s a clear indicator of the way forward.”
“The report also found navigator services work best when they can be locally tailored, ensuring the appropriate level of local knowledge and flexibility to meet the needs of local seniors,” Minister Colbeck said.
In this year’s Budget the Government announced a further extension to the trials to continue support until the longer-term Connecting senior Australians to aged care services and navigation support within Reforms to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are implemented.