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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Face-to-face consulting to make it easier for seniors to access and navigate aged care

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The Federal Government has announced that it is creating a one-stop-shop to make it easier for senior Australians and their families to connect to aged care services.

Building on the My Aged Care website and call centre, Services Australia will offer face-to-face support so people can access information about aged care, health and social services in one location.

From next week, senior Australians in an initial 15 locations will be able to access My Aged Care support from specially trained aged care specialist officers.

The opening of these services is part of the Government’s $17.7 billion response to the royal commission.

The first 15 Services Australia sites, listed below, are a combination of rural and metropolitan centres and will be in place on November 1.

  • Woden, ACT
  • Coffs Harbour, NSW
  • Hurstville, NSW
  • Wallsend, NSW
  • Orange, NSW
  • Airport West, Vic
  • Shepparton, Vic
  • Glen Waverley, Vic     
  • Maroochydore, Qld
  • Nerang, Qld
  • Townsville, Qld
  • Darwin, NT
  • Fremantle, WA
  • Norwood, SA
  • Launceston, Tas

The My Aged Care face-to-face service will expand to 80 sites by December 2022, with 10 aged care specialist officers providing outreach support to senior Australians in rural and remote areas.

It comes as the Government extends the successful aged care navigator trials, led by COTA Australia with 22 community organisations, to December 2022.

Trials are informing the design of the national care finder program which will begin in January 2023.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said the local services would make it easier for senior Australians and their loved ones to make decisions about care as they age.

“Planning for aged care can be overwhelming for many senior Australians and their families,” Hunt said.

“The new My Aged Care face-to-face service allows seniors and their representatives to sit down with a service specialist and talk through their aged care needs.”

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck said the expanded service offering would give people greater choice in how they accessed aged care information.

“We’ve seen through the aged care navigator trials how important it is to offer a face-to-face service,” Colbeck said.

“And that support has been very well received, with more than 100,000 people getting help to understand, engage with and access the aged care system.

“Alongside the introduction of the My Aged Care face to face service, we are extending the navigator trials with a greater focus on individual and intensive support from staff in local community organisations for isolated clients who could otherwise fall through the cracks when trying to move through the system.”

Minister for Government Services Linda Reynolds CSC said the aged care specialist officers would help with providing in-depth information about aged care services, offering financial information, registration and referral for aged care assessments and with connecting senior Australians to local support services, social workers, interpreters and advocates.

“In addition, all Services Australia service centre staff can provide general information about aged care and assist with connecting people to more specialised assistance, including My Aged Care’s online or phone services,” Reynolds said.

“Whether you are looking for help at home, or considering a move to residential aged care, our staff can assist and step you through the process.

“We’re also linking Services Australia and My Aged Care call centres, so that callers can be transferred easily between the two services.”

A full list of sites offering the face-to-face service is available on the Services Australia website, or visit My Aged Care for information about government aged care services.

Appointments to speak with an aged care specialist in a participating site are encouraged and can be made by calling Services Australia on 1800 227 475.

COTA Australia continues to lead the aged care navigator trials with its partner organisations.

Click here or call 1300 COTA AU (1300 268 228) to find out where local navigators are operating and for contact details of trial partners.

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