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Veterans' Home Care (VHC)

Veterans' Home Care (VHC) is designed to help you continue living at home by providing a small amount of practical help.

VHC is not designed to meet complex or high-level care needs.

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.

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

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.

Eligibility

If you are a Gold or White Card holder 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 VHC 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.

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, ironing, 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 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, 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.

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. DVA offers Respite Care to:

  • the carer of a Gold or White Card holder
  • a Gold or White Card holder who is a carer
  • a Gold or White Card holder who 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).

Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) Social Assistance

If you are a Gold Card holder 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 programme 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 133 254 (metro) or 1800 555 254 (regional) and asking for Veterans’ Home Care.

Find out more about:

Other non-DVA community programmes available

My Aged Care

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

For more information on these programmes, you can visit the My Aged Care website 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 programmes are not funded directly by DVA and there may be additional costs associated with this care.

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