Care finders support vulnerable older people who would not be able to arrange services without intensive support and do not have a family member or friends who can help.
The care finder program is part of aged care reform in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission and funded nationally through PHNs to improve integration between the health, aged care and other systems at a local level.
Care finder services are provided at no cost as they are fully funded through Murray PHN.
How does the care finder service work?
Care finders supplement My Aged Care, they provide face-to-face support for older adults who are not yet receiving aged care services, as well as those who are.
If someone requires care finder support, then a local organisation can connect them with a dedicated care finder. The care finder will meet with them, usually in person. This can be at their home or another place they choose. The care finder will ask questions to understand the person’s situation and support them to work through the steps to address their needs.
Care finders are qualified and have relevant experience in social work, human services, health service or aged care. They have a detailed understanding of the range and eligibility requirements of aged care supports and services and other relevant supports in the local community.
What help can care finders provide?
Care finders can help people understand what aged care services are available, set up an assessment and find and choose services. They also help people with access to other supports in the community. They can help with both accessing services for the first time and changing or finding new services and supports.
They can help someone with:
- talking to My Aged Care on their behalf and arranging an assessment
- attending and providing support at the assessment
- finding and short-listing aged care providers in their area
- completing forms and understanding aged care service agreements
- checking-in once services are up and running to make sure everything is OK
- solving other challenges and connecting to supports in the community, such as health, mental health, housing and homelessness, drug and alcohol services and community groups.
Care finders are not funded to act as advocates however their role may involve discrete elements of advocacy such as support to resolve a problem with a provider that the care finder has helped the client to engage.
Who is eligible for care finder?
Care finders provide specialist and intensive assistance to a small proportion of people who are eligible for aged care services but without intensive assistance may miss out on the support they need, when they need it most.
People who may be eligible for care finder:
- need help with one or more everyday tasks
- are aged 65 years or older (50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people) OR are 50 years or older (45 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people) on a low income or at risk of being homeless; and
- have one or more reasons* for requiring intensive support to interact with My Aged Care, access aged care services and/or other relevant supports in the community.
*Reasons may include:
- isolation or absence of a support person
- communication barriers, including limited English language or literacy skills
- difficulty processing information to make decisions
- resistance to engage with aged care, where there are current or future concerns for a person's safety, including possible homelessness
- hesitance to engage with government and institutions due to past discrimination or trauma.
How do I access care finder?
A professional referral is not required to access care finder services. People requiring support (or a support person or representative) are encouraged to telephone a care finder organisation to make a referral, as this will allow intake staff to determine if the service is right for the person.
Care finders will also connect in with their local community and undertake assertive outreach to proactively identify and engage people who may require intensive navigation support.
To find a local provider visit My Aged Care or see table in the next section.
Murray PHN’s care finder network
In August 2022 Murray PHN prepared a supplementary health needs assessment using current Census and health service data, evidence from literature provided by the Department of Health and Aged Care, and community consultation which identified the growing needs of ageing communities across our catchment.
In response to these findings, Murray PHN has commissioned 12 care finder organisations to commence delivering care finder services from 1 January 2023 to 30 June 2025.
Care finders are available across all 22 local government areas in the Murray PHN region. The care finder program is fully funded by Murray PHN and incurs no cost to the consumer.
Care finder contact details:
What other support is available?
Most people who need aged care should call My Aged Care on 1800 200 244 or visit myagedcare.gov.au to discuss their needs and arrange an assessment.
If someone would like help to talk to My Aged Care or to use the website they can go to any Services Australia centre. There are also Aged Care Specialist officers who give face-to-face help in 70 Services Australia service centres. Visit Services Australia website to see where these are located or call 1800 227 475.
The following services are available to assist older adults who need aged care or other community supports:
- My Aged Care - Support for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation - Trusted Indigenous Facilitators
- Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) or phone 1800 700 600 between 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, and 10am-4pm Saturday
- Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission or call 1800 951 822
- My Aged Care Contact Centre or call 1800 200 422 between 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 10am-2pm Saturday
- Services Australia Aged Care Specialist Officers or call 1800 227 475 between 8am-5pm Monday to Friday
- My Aged Care - Digital Channels
- My Aged Care - Services for GPs and Health Professionals
- Carer Gateway or call 1800 422 737 between 8am-5pm Monday to Friday
- Dementia Australia or call 1800 100 500, 24 hours, 7 days a week
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or call 1800 800 110
- Disability Gateway or call 1800 643 787
- Ability First Systems Coordinator or call 1800 771 663
- It should be easy for older people to access the aged care they need. Having easy access means a person can get the information, support or care they need, when they need it. It also includes getting aged care appropriate to a person’s individual needs, including care that is culturally appropriate and safe. (Final Report: Care, Dignity and Respect, Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Volume 1, Commonwealth of Australia 2021)
- The Australian Government should fund the engagement of a workforce of personal advisers to older people, their families and carers, called ‘care finders’. (Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety 2021, p. 228)
- The community identified a need to embed advocacy and outreach services that support access to My Aged Care and other supports, particularly in rural communities, where finding services can be overwhelmingly challenging. (Murray PHN, Supplementary Needs Assessment: Care Finder Program, 2022)
- The care finder program is designed to provide intensive face-to-face support for older Australians who might otherwise ‘fall through the cracks’. (Summary Care Finder Evaluation Plan, Australian Healthcare Associates, November 2022, p. 2)
- PHN policy guidelines