Aged Care System Navigation trial launches nationally

Aged Care System Navigator trail rolled out across Australia

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ACCESS ALL AREAS: Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt launches the national Aged Care System Navigator at Umbrella Multicultural Community Care (one of the 'community hubs') in Belmont, Perth with clients and community hub staff.

ACCESS ALL AREAS: Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt launches the national Aged Care System Navigator at Umbrella Multicultural Community Care (one of the 'community hubs') in Belmont, Perth with clients and community hub staff.

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Need help navigating the aged care system? Face-to-face pilot rolled out

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Older Australians, their families and friends seeking help navigating the complex aged care system can now access free assistance through the roll-out of a new $7.4 million national trial.

The Aged Care System Navigator initiative will offer face-to-face, phone and online assistance to seniors and their families in every state and territory, including selected rural and remote areas. 

The scheme includes three trial programs which aim to more effectively deliver information and support older people trying to learn more about Government-supported aged care programs and how to access them.

These could be people accessing aged care for the first time or transitioning between the Commonwealth Home Support Program, home care packages and/or residential aged care.

The three trial programs include 32 aged care information hubs, to provide locally-targeted information; 21 community hubs where members support each other in navigating aged care and healthy ageing; and nine specialist support workers who will offer one-on-one support, either in person or over the phone, for vulnerable people.

A 90-year-old in the top end of Australia is going to have very different access support needs to a 70-year-old in inner city Melbourne. - Ian Yates, COTA Australia

The trial is funded by the government and will be delivered by a consortium of 30-consumer focused organisations, led by COTA Australia.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt said the navigators will target senior people in need, especially those facing language or other difficulties, to help ensure they receive support and information.

"They will make a big difference, in keeping with our Government's commitment to person-centered care," he said.

"The Navigator system is critical to ensuring senior Australians have more choices for longer and better lives."

COTA chief executive Ian Yates said there was an "urgent need" to invest in system navigators in the aged care system.

"The great thing about these trials is they steer away from the cookie-cutter approach to accessing aged-care and recognise the importance of tailoring support to access aged care services to different situations and contexts," he said.

"A 90-year-old in the top end of Australia is going to have very different access support needs to a 70-year-old in inner city Melbourne - both the trial locations and the groups in the consortium who will be delivering the supports have been selected to reflect the breadth and diversity of Australia's ageing population."

My Aged Care is full of answers, but we are told it is difficult to find them. - Craig Gear, Older Persons Advocacy Network

The Older Persons Advocacy Network has also been involved with the trial and said it was important for people entering aged care.

"Thirty organisations are involved, which means an array of aged care experience and ties to local communities will be ensuring an effective delivery og information to those who need it most," said OPAN chief executive Craig Gear. 

As part of the trial, OPAN has developed a chat function on its website to also deliver online help to older people and their families, particularly those in remote and rural areas.

"My Aged Care is full of answers, but we are told it is difficult to find them," said Mr Gear.

The programs build on a trial that started in October 2018. The Aged Care Navigator pilot is funded until the end of June 2020. 

Head to the 'hubs'

The 21 Community Hubs are where local volunteers will share their knowledge of the aged care system with local people and will also also promote healthy ageing. Volunteers will  receive training and support.

The 32 Aged Care Information Hubs will provide tailored information in the local community. Aged care expert staff and trained volunteers will be available to support, educate and help people by informing and linking them with suitable aged care services. They aim to help local people build their own knowledge by guiding them through the steps from information to assessment to receiving care.

Some of the activities offered in hubs include:

  • Community workshops and information sessions.
  • Help filling in forms.
  • Contacting My Aged Care.
  • Providing fact sheets, handouts and other resources.
  • Outreach services to support those who can’t come into the centre.
  • Group or individual support sessions.

For a list of Aged Care Navigator locations and providers, click HERE

For more details go to www.agedcarenavigators.org.au

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