Improving access to support services
Federal Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie announced that a total of $7,188,627 in Federal funding has been made available this year to important aged care support services in the Manning, Hastings and Gloucester areas.
Visiting one of the local support services, MSS (formerly Manning Support Services) in Taree today, Dr Gillespie announced the Australian Government had introduced new home support assessment arrangements that would make it easier for older Australians to access the care they need and remain living in their own home.
“Last year the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield, announced the establishment of the My Aged Care Regional Assessment Services (RAS). This new initiative is being introduced to streamline the assessment process for older Australians seeking access to aged care support service in their home,” Dr Gillespie said.
The Minister has announced 13 organisations that have been selected to operate the RAS, following an open tender process. From 1 July 2015, the RAS will be responsible for conducting face-to-face assessments of older people needing entry-level support at home.
The Regional Assessment Service providers serving our local area are HAC and Feros Care who have tasked MSS, Strategy to Action, Vision Australia and Carers NSW to undertake the local assessments.
“I am particularly pleased Manning Support Services or MSS will be delivering this new service, particularly given their long history in this important area of aged care and community service delivery,” Dr Gillespie said.
MSS currently employ 30 staff and 511 registered volunteers. They also deliver a number of important programmes throughout the region including:
- Neighbour Aid at Port Macquarie and Taree
- Respite Options at Taree
- Home Modification and Maintenance at Taree
- Volunteer Resources at Taree and Port Macquarie
- No Interest Loans at Taree, Gloucester and Port Macquarie
- Family Support at Taree and Gloucester
- Men & Family Relationships at Taree, Gloucester and Forster
- Meals to the Home at Taree
- HACC Development Officer at Taree, Great Lakes and Gloucester
- Community Visitors Scheme at Gloucester, Taree and Great Lakes
- Supervised Access program
“There are also a number of local Home and Community Care providers which form part of this overall service support network including Alzheimer’s Australia, Biripi Medical Service, Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group, Gloucester Home Maintenance project, Hastings District Respite Care, Hastings Home Modification and Maintenance Service and Meals on Wheels Mid-North Coast,” Dr Gillespie said
Minister Fifield said that the assessment service, accessed through the Government’s My Aged Care website and call centre, would be standardised to help older people and their families navigate the aged care system and find suitable services in a timely manner.
“For the first time, there will be a single point of entry into the aged care system to make it easier for older people to get access to the information and services they need to continue living independently in their own homes,” Minister Fifield said.
“After contacting My Aged Care, older people will be able to meet with a My Aged Care regional assessor and talk through their current circumstances, their individual needs and goals.”
“Importantly, home support assessments will be separated from service delivery to ensure the focus is on individuals’ needs and goals,” Minister Fifield said.
The RAS will assess clients seeking to access the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), which is a $1.7 billion programme commencing from 1 July this year.
The CHSP will roll several existing home support programmes into one streamlined programme, including the Commonwealth Home and Community Care (HACC), National Respite for Carers (NRCP), Day Therapy Centres (DTCs); and Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged (ACHA) programmes.
Selected from an open tender process, the organisations will provide full assessment coverage across the 52 planning regions in all states and territories, except Victoria and Western Australia – where current state government models will continue.
Minister Fifield said that a number of specialist services and community organisations had formed consortia to offer a tailored capability to support indigenous populations, culturally and linguistically diverse populations and people with dementia.
“The RAS will complement the existing Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACATs) which undertake assessments for higher intensity home care and residential care services.”
Further information about the RAS is available at www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/ageing-and-aged-care/aged-care-reform/my-aged-care/request-for-tender-.