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Aged care navigator trials begin


Minister Wyatt with Umbrella Multicultural Community Care Hub staff

A trial of a national network of outreach centres, information hubs and advisors has been launched to help vulnerable seniors navigate the aged care system and access services.

The $7.4 million trial is part of the Aged Care System Navigator initiative, which was announced in the 2018-19 Federal Budget and a key recommendation of the Tune Review to help older people struggling to understand and use the aged care system.

Consumer peak body COTA Australia in partnership with 30 other consumer organisations will lead the implementation of 62 navigator trials in every state and territory to identify the type of supports that achieve the best outcomes.

Most support services will be delivered face-to-face but there will also telephone and online options.

Services will include education or group support sessions, such as webinars, seminars or small groups to help make people aware of how to access aged care services, and individual one-on-one support, such as to assist with My Aged Care or completing forms.

The program involves:

  • 32 aged care information hubs to provide locally-targeted information and build people’s capacity to engage with the aged care system
  • 21 community hubs for members to support each other in navigating aged care
  • 9 specialist support workers to offer one-on-one support for vulnerable people.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt launched the system navigator trials in Perth on Monday.

He said navigators would target senior people in need such as those facing language or other difficulties to help ensure they received support and information.

“The navigator system is critical to ensuring senior Australians have more choices for longer
and better lives,” he said.

Ian Yates

COTA Australia CEO Ian Yates said the trial would lead to improved access to aged care services.

“The Aged Care Navigators trial will help older Australians, their families and friends more easily access aged care services, whether it be through listening to an education session about aged care, receiving help with filling in a form, or talking face to face with someone about your individual needs,” Mr Yates said.

“The great thing about these trials is that they steer away from a cookie-cutter approach to accessing aged care and recognise the importance of tailoring support to access aged care services to different situations and contexts,” he said.

Older Persons Advocacy Network CEO Craig Gear said older consumers needed access to advocacy and information services at all points of the system from enquiries through to screening and assessment, home care and residential care.

“By providing supports to older Australians during all stages of the aged care journey, we will be equipping them with the necessary information to allow them to make informed decisions as consumers about where and how they would like to spend the latter stages of their life,” Mr Gear said.

Mary Patetsos

Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia chair Mary Patetsos said the trials would assist vulnerable seniors.

“Many older Australians from the culturally and linguistically diverse community find it difficult to access aged care information and services that are sensitive to their cultural backgrounds and circumstances,” Ms Patetsos said.

“Every older Australian regardless of their social, cultural, linguistic and religious needs, deserves access to respectful and inclusive aged care services, free from discrimination and exclusion,” she said.

The Aged Care System Navigator trials are funded until June 2020 after which they will be independently evaluated by health and human services consultants Australian Healthcare Associates to guide the implementation of long-term support models.

Find out more information on the Aged Care System Navigator trials including locations and target user groups here.

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11 Responses to Aged care navigator trials begin

  1. Dr Sarah Russell February 25, 2019 at 3:06 pm #

    Does anybody else find it ironic that the government established a new service in 2013 (My Aged Care) and then 6 years later a 2nd service is required to help people navigate the 1st service?

    Local Councils used to be first port of call – back then no one complained that the aged care system was hard to navigate. Why is My Aged Care so complex?

  2. Kathy Kirby February 28, 2019 at 11:26 am #

    In England Local Councils have had the responsibility for delivering these services ‘forever’. Am assuming they a much closer to the needs of their communities and their communities find it easier to get in touch with their local council.
    My only feeling when reading all the attached information about these navigators trials is how are members of the public going to find out about this and that not everyone is comfortable – or even has – a computer.
    The funding would be better used directed totally towards clients and service provision staff, rather than yet another ‘bureaucracy’.
    Don’t wish to be negative about this, but I can’t help wonder if this is the best use of resources.
    There appear to be quite a lot of ‘trials’ for one thing or another on at the moment …..

  3. Robyn Stewart February 28, 2019 at 3:36 pm #

    Could not agree more with both previous responses. More window dressing will not lead to better and easier outcomes.

  4. Audrey Saunders. February 28, 2019 at 5:56 pm #

    I totally echo comments made by Dr. Sarah Russell. It is totally ironic that there now has to be a navigator service to navigate the monster that is My Aged Care. For god’s sake put money into services on the ground that will actually help senior australians remain living in their own homes, instead of money into further levels of bureaucracy ! I work as an ACAT and prior to My Aged Care we met weekly with local providers and were able to actually organise services to help people in need. Now we are looking at 12 months + if lucky to gain assistance for people that need help now! You can have multiple assessments and information but actual assistance, well that is another matter….. It is so distressing … and so wrong.

  5. Rural Worker March 1, 2019 at 8:17 am #

    Let me get this correct, My Aged Care as system devised by 28 year olds in Canberra for 88 year olds living in Rural and Remote Australia which was internet and telephone dependant is now having issues engaging with the people it was developed to support?

    REALLY? Who would have thought?

    Maybe these Wiz Kids should have looked at the census data which shows that something like 40% of Rural and Regional Homes don’t have access to the internet (and anyone working in these locations could tell you that these homes are mainly occupied by the My Aged Care target group. Did they also investigate hearing issues amongst their target group (many of the elderly members of the community have trouble using telephones due to hearing issues).

    And now they want to introduce Aged Care Navigators? Something similar was trialled in Victoria when My Aged Care was first introduced, the Navigator for our region was based about 3 to 31/2 hours away from where I live, and no they wouldn’t travel to my area.

    Very Helpful.

    In Victoria before My Aged Care we had Home and Community Care, usually run out of Local Councils and Local Health Services and which was run on the principle of ‘No Wrong Door’ who’s ever door you went through first they would support you to access the services you needed.

    Perhaps the Federal Government could have saved a few hundred million dollars and used it for service delivery by adopting this proven system?

  6. Petra Alwer March 1, 2019 at 9:01 am #

    I do assertive outreach as an Access and Support worker in Rural Victoria and cover approximately 5000 kilometres. My clients are vulnerable isolated and have barriers to services, literacy, fear of being placed in care, total lack of knowledge of the service system, often have a drawer full of brouchers that they are unable to read.lack of family to assist, and in many cases have not witnessed ageing, as they are migrants and there are no aged relatives in Australia. I work with these clients and empower them with understandable information, link them with My Aged Care and the service system. Services are both CHSP and local community groups services ie. meal at the community house. I also work with ACAS with vulnerable clients who have been assigned a package of care and can not navigate the system to choose a provider to manage the packages.Currently Access and Support officers which are unique to Victoria are filling an important role empowering community with information and working with the most vulnerable Victorians connecting them with available services.

  7. Chung Chan March 1, 2019 at 9:05 am #

    Is there a Chinese speaking member in the team as we said the project helps vulnerable seniors? In ABS, there is a high population of Chinese speaking people. I doubt that the project or hub can provide best assistance to this CALD group. Not understand the context of the Chinese culture, family relationship and personal lifestyle etc.
    Each senior is unique and individual. The financial support should go to the service providers who knows the best interest of CALD seniors. This group of people will always be disadvantage because of not providing the best practice. One more, an interpreter is an INTERPRETER. They catch word to translate in conversation but they don’t see the picture behind. In a conversation having a client, the service coordinator and the interpreter, no one knows the interpreter does wrong translation and does wrong interpretation of client meaning.
    I as the manager of a service provider have experienced a lot of such situation – misunderstanding, wrong information etc.

  8. Josie March 1, 2019 at 1:02 pm #

    Thanks Petra for raising the existing support available in Victoria – Access & Support workers provide invaluable support to vulnerable clients and work alongside their RAS and ACAS colleagues. Peer support and advocacy is wonderful but in this case it can’t replace professional lead advocacy and intervention – you need to be familiar with the mechanics of the my aged care system and have a view in for successful intervention – you can facilitate a registration but how will you know whether it has gone to RAS or ACAS or direct to service or closed in the absence of contact? Access & Support workers are uniquely placed to provide the appropriate support through the consumer’s journey from identification to registration, assessment and service delivery. Funding should be aligned to maintain their existence rather than replace them with a peer lead approach.

  9. Wilhelmus Kaiser March 1, 2019 at 1:52 pm #

    Dear Petra Alwer,

    Well done on fulfilling an extremely important role for those poor folks who are overlooked by the current regime, which (in any case) presents an excessively complicated and slow, onerous process which is difficult to access and implement in a meaningful manner.

    Are you able to inform me as to how your “assertive outreach” program was initiated, and who you work with (or for)? How is the program funded, and is it intended to be a permanent (long-term) undertaking?

    Thank you in anticipation! Bill Kaiser (Tasmania).

  10. Eliz Mitchell March 1, 2019 at 2:27 pm #

    I also am a Access & Support Worker in Rural and Remote Victoria and agree with above A&S comments.
    Two points I would like to make: Why spend money in Victoria when there is already Access & Support Workers providing this service in their local communities. Why not consult the Access & Support Team we can inform you of all the issues. The A&S program works closely with the RAS and ACAS teams to capture the aged people who are having difficulty in navigating any part of the Aged Care system. A&S workers provide assertive outreach in the Rural sector and travel distance to service all our smaller communities.
    Second point: Access & Support is under resourced and understaffed why not use the money that will be spent in Victoria on the Navigator Pilot to better fund and resource a program that is already working hard to provide this service to the Aged population?

  11. Petra Alwer March 4, 2019 at 9:06 am #

    Hi Josie, Thankyou, we are unique professionals who work with vulnerable clients right through from finding them in community to registration with My Aged Care, attending assessments if requested too, or if there is a need. Our relationship with RAS and ACAS means we can check that contact has been made and an assessment is happening. If no contact, or a referral is cancelled we Access and Support will follow up. Our role is not about building relationships, registering clients with My Aged Care and leaving we see the referral through and will advocate and assist for assessment to take place and services to be initiated. Cheers Petra.

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