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Veterans' Home Care (VHC)

If you are a Gold Card or White Card holder with low care needs, DVA’s Veterans' Home Care (VHC) program can assist you to continue living in your home by providing you with a small amount of practical help. The VHC Program also assists carers in recognition of the vital role they play in the veteran and defence community.

By way of explanation, a small amount of practical help refers to low-level support services provided at a low intensity on a short-term or ongoing basis, or increased intensity on a short-term or episodic basis.  Eg. After an episode of acute care, the intensity can be increased to assist with recovery.

The VHC program provides a range of home care services designed to maintain your health, wellbeing and independence.  For information on complex or high-level care needs refer to Navigating Aged Care.

DVA has contracted organisations to provide assessment and coordination of VHC services (known as VHC Assessment Agencies) and contracted organisations to deliver VHC services (known as VHC Service Providers) across Australia.

To receive VHC services, you will need to be assessed by a VHC Assessment Agency as needing home care assistance. Further information is provided in the following factsheets:

This section covers information about DVA’s Veterans' Home Care (VHC) Program.

VHC Assessment Agencies

VHC Assessment Agencies assess your needs and approve services if appropriate. Where services are approved, the VHC Assessment Agency, in consultation with you, will arrange services with a contracted VHC Service Provider. A VHC Care Plan will then be sent to you.

Service approvals are usually for six-month periods. You are then subsequently reassessed and further approvals are dependent on the outcome of that review assessment.

VHC Service Providers

VHC Service Providers deliver the services approved by VHC Assessment Agencies. The VHC Service Provider will also collect a copayment from you, only when it is stated on your VHC Care Plan.

VHC Service Providers are not required to establish eligibility, assess service needs, determine levels of copayments, make changes to services or approve additional or new services. However, if a VHC Service Provider believes that your needs have changed, they can refer you to the VHC Assessment Agency for a reassessment of your needs.

Eligibility

If you are the holder of a Gold DVA Health Card or a White DVA Health Card, living at home and have been assessed as needing home care assistance by a VHC Assessment Agency, you may be eligible for support through VHC.

Some restrictions may apply to accessing the full range of VHC services. The VHC Assessment Agency will advise you of your eligibility for an assessment for these services.

How to access VHC services

You must have an assessment by a VHC assessor who will discuss your circumstances to identify the range of services that may be needed. Most assessments are done over the phone, however if the VHC assessor determines that an assessment in the home may be of more benefit than over the phone, they will arrange a time and day suitable to you.

To arrange an assessment call a VHC Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450.

Note: Calls should be made from a landline telephone, as calls from a mobile phone cannot be connected to a VHC Assessment Agency. If you do not have a landline telephone, you may telephone DVA on 1800 555 254 for an alternative telephone contact number, which will connect you to your regional VHC Assessment Agency.

Services offered under VHC

VHC services include:

  • Domestic Assistance
  • Personal Care
  • Safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance
  • Respite Care.

In addition, Social Assistance services as part of the Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) Program are provided through the VHC Program.

Domestic Assistance

Domestic Assistance provides support with household tasks, such as house cleaning, clothes and linen washing and ironing, unaccompanied shopping and bill paying, but is not to replace tasks you are capable of doing. Active participation in domestic activities has been shown to have a beneficial health effect, even for the frail and very elderly.

There are no strict thresholds for Domestic Assistance as it depends on your assessed need, taking into account VHC is not designed to meet complex or high-level care needs. This service is provided on a weekly or fortnightly basis, dependent on your assessed needs.

This service attracts a small co-payment.

Personal Care

Personal Care includes assistance with daily self-care tasks such as bathing, showering, toileting, dressing and grooming that you, because of illness, disability or frailty are unable to do yourself. It is limited to up to one-and-a-half hours per week for low-level personal care needs.

If you have long-term, high-level personal care needs beyond one-and-a-half hours per week or have clinical needs, the DVA Community Nursing Program may provide the personal care required.

This service attracts a small co-payment.

Safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance

The focus of Safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance is to minimise environmental health and safety hazards that may impact on you. To keep the home safe and habitable, work may involve minor maintenance or repair work, which may be carried out by a handyman for example: cupboard adjustment, replacing light bulbs, changing batteries in smoke/ security alarms. Cleaning of gutters, internal and external windows, ceiling and exhaust fans, air-conditioning and split-system units.

Safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance does not include major repairs or services requiring a qualified tradesperson, including for example, gutter replacement, major landscaping or garden tasks such as tree-lopping or tree felling/removal.

Garden tasks such as lawn mowing and pruning can only be undertaken if an environmental health or safety hazard exists. Routine, cosmetic or ornamental gardening services such as weeding, maintaining flower beds, regular lawn mowing, or pruning of roses are not available under this service.

Safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance is limited to 15 hours in a 12-month period and is based on your assessed need. The total 15 hours will not automatically be approved.

This service attracts a co-payment.

Respite Care

Respite Care gives a break to a carer 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 severely incapacitated or frail. A carer is not required to live with the care recipient.

DVA offers Respite Care to::

  • the carer of the holder of a Gold DVA Health Card or a White DVA Health Card
  • the holder of Gold DVA Health Card or a White DVA Health Card who is a carer
  • the holder of a Gold DVA Health Card or a White DVA Health Card is a self-carer (for Residential Respite only).

There are three types of Respite Care available through VHC:

  • In-home Respite
  • Residential Respite
  • Emergency Short-Term Home Relief (ESTHR).

For more information, see Factsheet—HSV06—Respite Care and Carer Support.

Coordinated Veterans' Care (CVC) Social Assistance

If you are the holder of Gold DVA Health Card and a CVC participant, you may be eligible for a one-off short-term (generally up to 12 weeks) intensive Social Assistance service to support you to engage with community activities.

If appropriate for you, your GP will refer you to a VHC Assessment Agency for a Social Assistance assessment. The program recognises the benefits of social inclusion in supporting good health and encourages you to participate in community activities, such as groups, local clubs and associations on an ongoing basis.

This service attracts a small co-payment.

Find out more about your eligibility for CVC Social Assistance:

Ongoing assessment and changing circumstances

Generally you will be reassessed every six to nine months by the VHC Assessment Agency once services have been approved. Where short-term higher-level services have been approved, for instance following discharge from hospital, these would be reviewed after six to eight weeks.

If you feel that your needs have changed since the initial VHC assessment or review assessment, you should contact the VHC Assessment Agency whose number will be on your VHC Care Plan. The VHC Assessment Agency will discuss the changes and ensure appropriate assistance is provided.

If you are going away on holiday, into hospital, into a residential aged care facility or your health has improved, you should also contact the VHC Assessment Agency.

Service satisfaction

If you are dissatisfied with your VHC service, you should:

  • phone your VHC Service Provider using the number on your VHC Care Plan and discuss your dissatisfaction
  • contact your VHC Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450 and explain the situation if you believe your issue has not been resolved by the VHC Service Provider.

If you believe your issue has not been addressed by the VHC Service Provider or VHC Assessment Agency after a reasonable period of time has passed, you can lodge a complaint with DVA by phoning 1800 555 254 and asking to speak to someone in the Health Approvals and Home Care team.

Find out more about your rights and responsibilities using one of the following:

Other non-DVA community programs available

My Aged Care

The Home Care Packages Program, the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and the Home and Community Care (HACC) Program (in Western Australia) may provide additional assistance not available under VHC.

For more information on these programs, you can visit My Aged Care or contact the My Aged Care National Contact Centre on 1800 200 422* (Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, Saturday 10am to 2pm), from any location within Australia.

*Free local call—calls from mobile or pay phones may incur charges.

Note: These programs are not funded directly by DVA and there may be additional costs associated with this care.

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