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Factsheet HSV77 - Convalescent Care


This factsheet provides information on convalescent care services available to the veteran community.

What is convalescent care?

Convalescent care refers to a period of medically prescribed convalescence for an eligible DVA client who is recovering from an illness or operation immediately following an acute hospital admission.

Am I eligible to receive convalescent care?

If you hold a DVA Gold Health Card/Veteran Card, DVA will pay for convalescent care following an acute hospital admission for any condition.

If you hold a DVA White Health Card/Veteran Card DVA will pay for convalescent care following an acute hospital admission where DVA has paid for the original admission.

For more information regarding eligibility refer to:

There are no age restrictions in relation to accessing convalescent care and an aged care assessment (ACAT or ACAS) is not required.

Where can I receive convalescent care?

Convalescent care can be provided in public or private hospitals, Multi-Purpose Services, Australian Government-funded aged care facilities, or Supported Residential Service (SRS) in Victoria. In certain circumstances, convalescent care may be provided in other suitable institutions. You should receive convalescent care in the most suitable setting. Convalescent care is not available in the home.

How do I access convalescent care?

Your hospital discharge planner, treating doctor or the hospital staff (usually the social worker or charge nurse) can organise convalescent care if it is medically necessary. They will seek prior approval from DVA before arranging convalescent care in an Australian Government–funded Aged Care Facility, SRS or approved other institution.

Is prior approval required and is there a limit on the number of days DVA will pay?

Public or private hospital

When convalescent care is arranged in a public or private hospital (or a public hospital based Multi-Purpose Service), prior financial authorization from DVA is not required and there is no limit on the number of days that you can access.

Australian Government-funded Aged Care Facility, SRS or approved other institution

When convalescent care is arranged in an Australian Government-funded aged care facility SRS or other institution approved as appropriate by DVA, prior approval from DVA is required and there is a limit on the number of days that you can access. DVA will pay for up to 21 days in a financial year in a non-hospital institution.

Will I need to pay for convalescent care?

You will not have to pay for convalescent care.

You should not be charged for the cost of convalescent care and any additional fees (including extra service fees). 

How does convalescent care differ from residential respite care?

The purpose of respite care is to give a break to a carer by temporarily relieving them of their caring responsibilities. Residential respite care provides short-term care, usually in an Australian Government-funded aged care facility. It can be used if a carer needs a break or if you require a break from self-caring and do not have a carer and you intend to return to your home.

Respite care may be used on a planned or an emergency basis to help with carer stress, illness or carer holidays, or when your carer is unavailable. Residential respite care is accessed from the community and it does not usually follow a hospital admission.

Residential respite care delivered in an Australian Government-funded aged care requires an assessment by the ACAT or ACAS team before it can be approved. To access respite care under DVA arrangements, you will also need to be assessed by a VHC Assessment Agency. Most assessments are done over the phone. To arrange an assessment, call a VHC Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450^. The VHC assessor will discuss your circumstances with you to identify which services you need.

The Commonwealth funding for residential respite care must not be used to pay for convalescent care services.

For more information about residential respite care refer to Factsheet — HSV06 — Respite care and carer support.

More information

DVA General Enquiries

*Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

^Calls should be made from a standard landline telephone, as calls from mobile phones are unable to be connected to any VHC Assessment Agency.

Related Factsheets


The information contained in this Factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances. You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position on the basis of information contained in this Factsheet. Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined. You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA.



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17 October 2019