Navigating the Australian aged care system is no easy feat.
Whether you’ve tried accessing aged care services for yourself, or you’ve supported someone through the process, you’ll know the piles of paperwork and multitude of choices can result in one big headache.
A 2020 study by the Consumer Policy Research Centre, which interviewed 502 individuals, reported only one third of HCP [Home Care Package] recipients were able to select a HCP provider unassisted*.
The report also stated that “The majority of HCP recipients surveyed (60.9%) reported relying on a trusted individual in their support network, particularly health professionals, to assist them in selecting a HCP provider”.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety acknowledged these challenges, and as a result recommended the creation of a dedicated workforce - to help people needing intensive support to navigate and access aged care.
Melissa is one of these dedicated workers in CatholicCare Victoria’s Advanced care finder program, supporting people to access aged care services where they would otherwise struggle to navigate the challenging systems alone.
The Australian Government responded to the Royal Commission’s recommendations with the establishment of the care finder program – a $272.5 million commitment to create a network of 500 Community Care Finders around Australia.
In December 2022, CatholicCare Victoria successfully received a Community Care Finders grant, and launched our Advanced care finder service in Ballarat - Goldfields, Geelong - Otway, Great South Coast and Wimmera Grampians in 2023.
In under a year, Melissa has supported dozens of individuals to access aged care services without the usual stress and confusion often associated with the process. The positive feedback she’s received is a testament to her work.
One couple says:
“The improvement in our circumstances can be attributed to Melissa becoming a part of our lives… Without Melissa there for support, guidance and knowledge we would have still been floundering in the maze and confusion that the aged care system seems to generate.”
“…without Melissa our lives would be entirely different.”
Melissa also received a heartfelt letter signed by seven residents in a Geelong aged care facility, stating:
“We would like to extend our sincere thanks, to CatholicCare, for sending Melissa to us… Without her advice, we would still be trying to sort through all the information, paperwork and, probably would have given up as most of us have done in the past, as it was too stressful.”
“She has been invaluable in the support, assessment, coordination and the seamless way it has all taken place. We have really appreciated her professionalism yet friendly manner – everything has been taken care of for us.”
Photo: Melissa (middle) with two Advanced care finder clients, Christine and May.
Melissa is a Case Coordinator in our Advanced care finder team, supporting older Australians who are also often at risk of homelessness.
Our Advanced care finder team can support individuals to:
- Choose the best suited aged care provider or service
- Access My Aged Care, including online services
- Navigate assessments
- Build capacity towards independent living
- Connect with local health services, mental health support services, and social support services
- Connect with housing and homelessness support services, and services that support independent living
- Connect with drug and alcohol support services, community groups and services that promote wellbeing and inclusion.
“I find working in the Advanced Care Finder program to be incredibly fulfilling. By listening to my clients’ stories, I am able to understand their unique needs and provide them with the support they require,” says Melissa.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to take the stress away from our clients and help them navigate the aged care system. I’m proud to be a part of such a meaningful program. It’s wonderful to know that I am making a positive impact on their lives.”
If you are eligible for aged care services, and need intensive support but have no existing help available to navigate the aged care system, contact our Advanced care finder team in Ballarat, Geelong, Horsham or Warrnambool, or find more information on our website.
T 1800 123 228
The Advanced care finder program provided by CatholicCare Victoria, is supported by Western Victoria Primary Health Network under the Australian Government’s Primary Health Networks Program.
Liz Gellel | Manager, External Marketing and Communications