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Program 2.4: Veterans' Community Care and Support


The program's primary objective is to effectively manage community support and residential care programs, including development and review of policy and operational guidelines and procedures, and assessment of program effectiveness.

Veteran community care and support programs include the Veterans' Home Care program and the Community Nursing program.

The program also provides the Australian Government subsidy for entitled veterans and war widow/ers living in residential care facilities.

The objectives of the Veterans' Home Care and Community Nursing programs are to support DVA clients to remain independent in their homes and improve their quality of life and health. The veteran community is ageing and increasingly requires higher levels of service. The provision of these services helps to delay entry into residential aged care and maximises independence.

The Australian Government provides subsidies and supplements for DVA clients who are no longer able to live independently and who enter residential aged care.


Veterans' Home Care (VHC)

  • The Department contracts with 174 organisations across Australia to assess DVA clients for VHC services, and to deliver those services to approximately 55,000 clients.
  • To ensure services are of high quality, a contract management framework, together with post payment monitoring, is in place for both Community Nursing and VHC.

Community Nursing

  • The Department contracts with around 190 organisations across Australia to provide community nursing services to approximately 26,000 DVA clients.

Residential care services

  • The Department funds residential subsidies and supplements for approximately 23,000 entitled veterans and war widow/ers residing in permanent and respite residential aged care.

Carer and volunteer support services

  • The Department contracts Community Support Advisers to provide services through the program, focusing on day clubs for frail aged care veterans, health promotion, and other community, recreational and social health initiatives.

Veterans' home care

Assessment and coordination

In 2016–17, DVA spent $8.5 million on assessment and coordination of clients' needs for Veterans' Home Care (VHC) and other community care services.

DVA also spent $79.6 million on the delivery of domestic assistance, personal care and safety-related home and garden maintenance services. This was a decrease of 12.6 percent compared to $91.1 million in 2015–16 and relates to a reduction in DVA client numbers. Another $11.8 million was spent on the delivery of in-home respite services, compared to $10.8 million in 2015–16.

Table 22 shows expenditure on these services for the past five years.

Table 22—Veterans' Home Care expenditure 2012–13 to 2016–17 ($m)
  2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17
Assessment and coordination 9.2 8.9 8.8 8.8 8.5
Domestic assistance, personal care and safety-related home and garden maintenance 76.2 78.5 81.8 91.1 79.6
In-home respite 15.5 10.4 10.6 10.8 11.8

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Clients approved for services

Around 49,090 DVA clients were assessed for VHC services in 2016–17, compared to approximately 52,550 in 2015–16. Of those approved to receive VHC services during 2016–17:

  • 89.4 percent were approved for domestic assistance
  • 33.8 percent were approved for safety-related home and garden maintenance services
  • 5.6 percent were approved for personal care
  • 13.4 percent were approved for respite care
  • less than 0.1 percent were approved for social assistance services under the CVC program.

These figures total more than 100 percent as DVA clients may be approved for more than one service type.

Table 23 shows the approvals for one or more VHC services for the past five years as a percentage of the total number of DVA clients approved to receive VHC services.

Table 23—Proportion of veterans and war widows and widowers approved for Veterans' Home Care services 2012–13 to 2016–17 (%)
Number of services 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17
One 65.9 65.3 63.4 63.7 62.1
Two 30.5 30.8 30.2 32.1 33.6
Three 3.3 3.2 4.0 3.8 4.0
Four 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.3 0.3

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Community nursing

In 2016–17, DVA spent $132.2 million on community nursing services, a decrease of 2.5 percent compared to $135.7 million in 2015–16. This decrease in nursing services reflects DVA clients choosing to remain as independent as possible in their own homes.

The majority (99 percent) of DVA community nursing services are paid through a set schedule of item numbers and fees. The remainder are paid through the process managed by DVA's Exceptional Case Unit, which contracts specialist clinical nurse consultants who have a range of expertise in generalist nursing, wound management, palliative care and gerontology to process applications for exceptional case status.

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Residential care

In 2016–17, DVA paid $1.10 billion for residential aged care services for approximately 20,000 eligible DVA clients in residential aged care. However, as more people choose to stay living at home and receiving community services for as long as possible, the level of frailty and care needs of these clients in residential aged care continues to increase.

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Carer and Volunteer Support program

The Carer and Volunteer Support program improves the health and wellbeing of DVA clients and their carers by supporting a range of social health activities.

DVA engages community support advisers (CSAs) to work with former and current serving ADF members to support community-based initiatives centred on local client demographics and need. In 2016–17, CSAs provided support to 118 day clubs, focusing on social connection for isolated, frail and aged veterans. CSAs also provided assistance for DVA social health initiatives, such as Veterans' Health Week and the Men's Health Peer Education program (refer to Program 2.5 for more information about these activities).

CSAs also provided support for other community, recreational and social health initiatives by assisting ESOs and community groups with DVA health and wellbeing funding applications and Veteran and Community Grants.

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The Grants-in-Aid program assists national ESOs to cover administrative expenses such as provision of office equipment, travel for representational business, and advocacy undertaken on behalf of the veteran community. To be eligible, an organisation must be an effective national representative body, have direct links to the ex-service community and have objectives which aim to benefit the welfare of its members.

The program has an annual allocation of $145,000. In 2016–17, a total of $138,695 was provided to 15 national ESOs under the program.

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Veteran and Community Grants

The Veteran and Community Grants program aims to improve the independence and quality of life of members of the veteran community. The program provides project funding to support activities and services to sustain or enhance health and wellbeing, reduce social isolation, support carers and improve access to community care services.

Funding is available for projects that will become sustainable and financially viable, or for one-off projects that have an ongoing health benefit for the veteran community. The grants are not intended to provide ongoing financial assistance.

To receive funding under the program, a project proponent must be an ESO, community-based organisation or private organisation that can demonstrate the ability to contribute to the welfare of members of the veteran community through the project.

In 2016–17, a total of $2.125 million was provided to 130 applicants under the program.

Examples of projects funded in 2016–17 include projects to deliver defibrillators and first aid training; provide computer equipment to assist with the production of newsletters; and upgrade kitchen facilities to enhance activities for the veteran community.

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