A system navigator, streamlined assessment and further improvements to My Aged Care are among measures announced in this week’s budget to improve timely access to services.

The face-to-face navigator and outreach service announced by the government on Tuesday implements a key recommendation of the Tune Review to help older people struggling to understand the aged care system.

As part of the $7.4 million budget measure, the government will trial four programs:

  • 30 aged care information hubs providing locally-targeted information to consumers
  • 20 community hubs where members support each other in navigating aged care
  • Six full-time specialists in consumer-focused organisations to offer one-on-one support for vulnerable people
  • Six full-time aged care Financial Information Support Officers in the Department of Human Services to support people with complex financial decision-making.

Faster assessment

The Federal Government will also design and implement a streamlined assessment framework to be delivered by a new national assessment workforce from 2020. A key aim will be to improve the timeliness and efficiency of aged care assessments, including to those in rural and remote areas, the government said.

The $14.8 million framework will be developed by groups across the aged care sector, including aged care service providers, consumers and existing assessment workforce organisations.

The government will also improve the functionality and information available on the My Aged Care website at a cost of $61.7 million, the budget papers show.

Shorter means-testing forms

A budget-neutral taskforce will be established from July 2018 to create a simpler means-testing form for consumers with straightforward financial affairs. The new financial assessment form will be implemented by May 2019, the government said.

The new taskforce will also make recommendations on simplifying the means-testing forms and process for all aged care consumers, including consumers with complex financial affairs.

The taskforce will consist of representatives of consumer groups, aged care providers and financial advisors and will report back to the government by the end of 2018.

Related budget coverage

Residential places to go to consumers, new bond levy for providers

Additional home care packages, reablement trial for home support

Funding for providers to implement new quality standards

New measures welcome but long-term fix needed, say stakeholders

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  1. It is pleasing to see funding to support older people not only with Home Care Packages, but reablement as part of Home Support Programs. Also funding to assist older people to navigate the aged care system.
    Is there an opportunity for existing providers to apply for funding for some of these programs

    My colleague and I established The Aged Care Advocates sometime ago and are very interested in supporting older and vulnerable people to navigate the system but to also be able to make informed choices about their future care

  2. Have a friend in dire circumstances who, cannot access or find the correct help required. She is 74 with a husband of the same age. The husband is suffering from depression along with onset dementia. She also has a daughter who is schizophrenic & a grandson by this daughter who needs caring for. She is trying to gain information for her husband to claim on his medical expenses but when going into Centerlink was told ‘We have been told not to help as you need to do it yourself ‘ ??? She is also trying to do his tax returns but he has no idea of his tax file No. & finds he has 3 accounts probably due to unknown or forgotten passwords. Who on earth can she turn to for help? Meantime she is becoming extremely stressed.

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