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Navigating Aged Care

What Is Aged Care?

Aged care encompasses daily living and nursing care services provided to older Australians who either need help to live at home or can no longer live independently.

Aged care services can be divided into three categories: low-level care, short-term or episodic care and high-level care.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and the Department of Health (Health) both offer aged care services to older Australians, however, there are two major differences between the services each provides.

  1. DVA aged and community care services are only available to eligible DVA clients and are usually ‘entry level’ services for lower care needs. They are not designed for more complex care needs.
  2. Health’s aged and community care services are available to all Australians, including veterans and war widows/ers. Health’s programs take in the full range of aged and community care services, from ‘entry level’ assistance, such as the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), through to much more comprehensive packaged home care, such as Home Care Packages. Levels of assistance range from 1 through to 4, depending on the person’s assessed needs, level 4 packages providing the highest intensity of care.
     
    Health is also responsible for the administration and regulation of Commonwealth subsidised residential aged care, or aged care homes, including resident fees and charges.  Veterans and war widows/ers, as Australian citizens, have the same right of access to  ‘mainstream’ (Health) services as other members of the community. DVA clients can receive both DVA services and mainstream services at the same time, as long as there is no duplication of services.

An overview of programs offered by DVA and the Department of Health is shown below.

Text description for the overview of program offered by DVA and the Department of Health

The Government’s Aged Care Reforms

Informed by the Productivity Commission’s report – Caring for Older Australians, the reforms are being led by the Department of Health and are delivering important benefits to older Australians over a 10 year period.  These benefits include:

  • more tailored and holistic approaches to community and aged care assessments and identification of needs;
  • more choice in community and aged care programmes; and
  • more control over services being delivered through Consumer Directed Care. 

DVA is working closely with Health to ensure that reform measures are complementary to DVAs’ programs and will result in improved outcomes for veterans and DVA aged care providers.

Further information about the Aged Care Reforms can be found on the Department of Health website on the Aged Care Reforms page.

My Aged Care – the gateway to aged care information and services

My Aged Care is the Commonwealth Government’s main entry point to aged care for all Australians.  Veterans and war widows/ers who need aged care information, advice and services such as a Home Care Package, or who are thinking about entering residential aged care, will need to contact My Aged Care.  

For more information about these services, visit the My Aged Care website or call the My Aged Care national contact centre on 1800 200 422.

Information on Aged Care Services – both those administered by the DVA and the Health – can be found on the pages below:

DVA services and costs

DVA provides entry level aged care services to eligible veterans and war widows/ers with low care needs to help them remain living in their homes and communities. These services include the following programs:

Veterans’ Home Care (VHC)

DVA Gold Card or White Card holders are eligible to receive a Veterans' Home Care (VHC) assessment.  VHC is designed to assist those who wish to continue living at home by providing a small amount of practical help.

VHC services include domestic assistance, personal care, respite care and safety-related home and garden maintenance.  Additionally, social assistance services are available as part of the Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program, provided through VHC.

To receive an assessment for VHC services, DVA clients will need to contact their local VHC Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450. The VHC assessor will discuss your circumstances with you to identify which services you need.

Cost:

A small co-payment is applicable for domestic assistance, safety-related home and garden maintenance and personal care. No co-payment applies to respite care.

The process for accessing services through the VHC program is shown below:

Call VHC, if eligible they will assess your needs, if services are approves you will be contacted for a provider to deliver services to you

To find out more about VHC, including respite care, call 1300 550 450.  Further information can be found on the VHC page of the DVA website.

Respite

Respite gives carers a break by temporarily relieving them of their caring responsibilities. A carer can be a friend, partner or family member who provides ongoing care to a person who is frail or severely incapacitated.

DVA offers respite care to:

  • the carer of a Gold Card or White Card holder;
  • a Gold Card or White Care holder who is a carer; and
  • a Gold Card or White Card holder who is a self-carer (eligible for residential respite only).

There are three types of respite care available through VHC:

  • in-home respite;
  • residential respite; and
  • Emergency Short-Term Home Relief (ESTHR).

To access respite care, call the Veterans Home Care (VHC) Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450. The VHC assessor will discuss your circumstances with you to identify which services you need.

DVA Gold Card or White Card holders needing residential respite in a Commonwealth Government-funded residential aged care facility will need an approval by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) (or the Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) in Victoria), in addition to the VHC approval. To obtain an ACAT/ACAS approval, contact My Aged Care for an assessment. Please visit the My Aged Care website or call the contact centre on 1800 200 422.

Cost:

There is no cost for respite care provided through the VHC program if it is within the following limits:

  • 196 hours of in-home respite, or 28 days of residential respite* or a combination of both, in any one financial year; and
  • 216 hours of ESTHR in any one financial year.

For Residential Respite Care, the Australian Government will pay the Commonwealth funding component for 63 days of residential respite per financial year. DVA will pay the basic daily care fee, which is the client funding component, for up to 28 days.

Some residential aged care facilities may need payment in advance to organise respite care. This is sometimes called a 'booking fee'. The amount of the booking fee should not cost more than a full week’s stay in the facility, or 25 per cent of the cost for the entire stay, whichever is lower. DVA is unable to pay this in advance but will reimburse this cost to the client after the respite stay.

Please note that DVA will pay the basic daily care fee for Australian former Prisoners of War (POW) or a Victoria Cross (VC) recipients receiving residential respite care, for a maximum of 63 days. If extra respite care is needed beyond the limits above, My Aged Care may be able to provide additional respite care, however, DVA will not pay any associated costs for this additional care.

The process for accessing in-home respite and ESTHR is shown below:  

Call VHC, if eligible they will assess your needs, if services are approves you will be contacted for a provider to deliver services to you

The process for accessing residential respite is shown below:

Call MyAgedCare for an assessment, find a suitable facility, call VHC assessment agency then VHC will organise payment for the facility

Depending on their circumstances, a client may wish to undertake step 3 before step 2 so that they know their balance of respite hours prior to finding a residential aged care facility.  If step 3 is undertaken before step 2, the client will need to contact the VHC Assessment Agency after confirming the residential aged care facility in step 2 to allow the VHC Assessment Agency to send the authorisation letter. 

To find out more about respite care, call the VHC Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450.  Further information can be found on the DVA website at:

Rehabilitation Appliances Program

Gold or White Card holders can access rehabilitation aids and appliances through the Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) to help them minimise the impact of disabilities, enhance quality of life and maximise independence when undertaking daily living activities. 

A General Practitioner (GP) can provide the necessary referral to an appropriate allied health professional (e.g. occupational therapist) who can assess your need for RAP aids and appliances.

Cost:

Rehabilitation aids and appliances are provided based on an assessed clinical need and there is no cost to eligible Gold or White Card holders.

The process for accessing RAP is shown below:

Spead to you rhealth professional to assess your needs, referral will be sent to a supplier and then aids and appliances will be delivered to you

For further information about the RAP, including a list of equipment, please call 133 254 (metro) or 1800 555 254 (country), or look on the RAP page of the DVA website.

DVA Community Nursing

DVA Community Nursing provides clinical nursing and/or personal care services to eligible veterans in their own home. Community nursing services can assist you with medication, wound care, hygiene and help with showering or dressing.  Community nursing services can help to restore or maintain your health and independence at home and assist you to avoid early admittance to hospital or residential aged care. Community nursing services are provided by a mix of personnel including registered and enrolled nurses and nursing support staff.

Cost:

Under the DVA Community Nursing Program, there is no cost for Gold Card or White Card holders based on their assessed clinical and personal care needs. White card holders are only covered for their accepted disabilities.

The process for accessing the DVA Community Nursing program is shown below:

Speak to your referrer about nursing needs, you will be referred to a provider, a reguistered nurse will assess you and develop a plan and commence del8ivering services to you

For further information about DVA’s Community Nursing program please contact DVA by email at nursing@dva.gov.au or call 1300 550 466.

Convalescent Care

Convalescent care refers to a short period of non-acute care that is provided to assist your recovery from an illness or operation immediately following an acute hospital admission.

Where:

Convalescent care can be provided in public or private hospitals, Multi-Purpose Services, residential aged care facilities, or other suitable facilities.   You should receive convalescent care in the most suitable setting. Convalescent care is not available in the home.

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

When convalescent care is arranged in a non-hospital setting, prior authorisation 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.

Cost:

You do not have to pay for convalescent care.

Eligibility is as follows:

  • For Gold Card holders, DVA will pay for convalescent care following an acute hospital admission for any condition. 
  • For White Card holders, DVA will pay for convalescent care following an acute hospital admission for:
  • an accepted war or service caused injury or disease(s),
  • malignant cancer,
  • pulmonary tuberculosis,
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or
  • anxiety and/or depression.
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