Commissioning services to help older Australians navigate the aged care system

The aged care system is complex, and some people find it more difficult than others to navigate and access services.

In response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Australian Governments care finder program will make it easier for older Australians to better understand how to access aged care services and make it easier to access specialist and intensive community supports.

WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) commissioned care finder organisations will act to complement, not duplicate, My Aged Care and will specifically target older Australians who may otherwise fall through the cracks.

WAPHA Chief Executive Officer, Learne Durrington said the care finder program will be an integral part of a system-wide improvement to the aged care system.

“Providing care finders in the right areas to meet the specific local needs of populations will enable better and more timely care for older Australians accessing the care they need with the right supports.”

Reasons for requiring intensive support may include:

  • Isolation or absence of a support person who can act with the individual’s informed consent
  • Communication barriers, including limited literacy skills or limited literacy in English
  • Difficulty processing information to make decisions including people diagnosed with dementia
  • Resistance to engage with aged care such as safety being at immediate risk or a likelihood to end up in crisis in the next 12 months (including people at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness)
  • Resistance to engage with government and institutions due to past discrimination or trauma such as people identifying as LGBTIQ+ or leavers of institutional care.

WAPHA has commenced planning to establish the care finder network via an open tender process which will be informed by a Needs Assessment being undertaken on behalf of WAPHA by KPMG, input from a range of stakeholder groups and learnings from existing trials.

There are a number of existing providers in Western Australia who provide support under the Assistance with Care and Housing program (currently funded under the Commonwealth Home and Support Program).  WAPHA is actively engaging with these providers to support their transition to becoming a provider of care finder services. This excludes hoarding and squalor services which will remain funded by the Commonwealth Home Support Program.

Needs Assessment

The Care Finder Program is one of the key activities under the PHN Aged Care Program, with a dedicated project team progressing the activity.  WAPHA has engaged KPMG to complete a needs assessment report that will identify local needs and priorities in each of the three Primary Health Networks in Western Australia – Perth North, Perth South and Country WA and identify opportunities to enhance integration between the health, aged care, and other systems in Western Australia.

WAPHA will report on needs assessment activities and findings to the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care for approval at the end of August 2022.

Service Tender

The Needs Assessment Report will inform the development of new service specifications for the care finder program in WA which will be awarded via an open tender process.

Organisations can register their interest in the care finder program tender here.

For any enquiries about the Care Finder Program, please contact our Commissioned Services team.