Helping your elderly patients access the best care & resources

The number of older people in our community is increasing and with it the complexity of managing chronic health problems and disability in aged patients. It is estimated that within the next 10 years, there will be more elderly than children in Australia. By 2050, people aged 65 and older will make up 22% of the population, with the number of people aged 85 years and older more than quadrupling.

For practitioners, the challenge is on to provide high-quality, appropriate care to older people living at home and in residential care. Here are some resources that may be of assistance:

My Aged Care Website

My Aged Care is an Australian Government initiative that supports older people and their families to access aged care information and services. To access this information directly, your patient will need to nominate you as a representative for the purposes of My Aged Care.

You can then refer them to My Aged Care for an assessment or service by filling in this referral form, or calling 1800 200 422. Some of the services on the My Aged Care website are listed below.

Home Care Packages Programme

The Home Care Packages Programme is part of the Australian Government’s continuum of care for older Australians. It sits in between the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP; formerly known as the Home and Community Care Programme, or HACC) and Residential Aged Care.

It provides older people who want to stay at home with access to a range of ongoing services and clinical care to help them with their day-to-day activities. These may include:

  • Support services – such as help with washing and ironing, house cleaning, gardening, basic home maintenance, home modifications related to care needs, and transport to help with shopping, doctors visits or attending social activities
  • Personal care – such as help with showering or bathing, dressing and mobility
  • Nursing, allied health and other clinical services – hearing services and vision services
  • Care coordination and case management.

Further information for providers about the Home Care Packages Programme can be found here.

The Home Medicines Review (HMR) Program

This Government-funded program is a response to research showing that 140,000 Australians go to hospital every year due to problems caused by their medicine. A free service, it’s particularly useful for patients who:

  • Take more than five medicines a day
  • Have recently spent time in hospital
  • Are concerned about their medicines
  • Are confused about their medicines
  • Don’t always remember to take their medicines.

GPs can set up a review by writing a referral to a HMR registered pharmacist, who will conduct an interview with the patient and report back. The GP can then discuss any recommendations or changes to the patient's medication regimen directly with them. For more infomation on the program click here.

The Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT or ACAS in VIC)

All elderly patients wishing to access Commonwealth-funded residential aged care, residential respite care and home care packages must have their eligibility assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team. These are independent multi-disciplinary teams (e.g. medical officers, social workers, nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists) that assist frail older people and their carers identify what kind of care will best meet their needs.

An ACAT will conduct comprehensive, medical assessments for those needing community services or aged care residential services. They are also able to refer to a wide range of service providers, including Commonwealth Aged Care Packages (CACPs), Commonwealth Home Support Programme and residential aged care (nursing home) options. For contact details of an ACAT in your area, please click here.

Personal Alert Victoria (PAV)

PAV is a personal monitoring service that responds to calls for assistance and is funded by the Victorian Government through the Department of Health. PAV enhances the confidence of frail, older people and people with disabilities, who are isolated and vulnerable, to live independently in their own home by providing contact 24 hours a day. Patients must be assessed by a designated PAV assessment organisation – call 1800 451 300 for more details or click here.

To find out more information on personal monitoring services in other states please complete the referral form on the My Aged Care website.

For more information on other services and resources available to elderly patients contact a My Aged Care customer service representative on 1800 200 422 or visit the website by clicking here.