Helping older people navigate aged care system: care finder service providers identified

A care finder supporting an older person using a laptop to navigate potential aged care services.
  15 January 2023  NWMPHN   

North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) is pleased to announce the successful partners from its recent tender for care finder services.

Primary health networks (PHNs) are establishing a care finder program on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. This follows recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which called for a dedicated workforce to assist people who require intensive support to navigate and access aged care services and supports through the My Aged Care system.

NWMPHN conducted a thorough commissioning process over the last six months, which included an open tender in addition to transitioning existing providers from the Assistance with Care and Housing (ACH) initiative. This initiative is no longer funded by the Commonwealth Home Support Program, so transitioning these providers to the care finder model will ensure continuity of care for their clients.

A broad range of community and social assistance organisations responded to the tender. These responses were evaluated by a diverse panel, including a community representative and a subject matter expert, both external to NWMPHN.

The three successful tenderers are IPC Health, Darebin City Council (in partnership with Moonee Valley and Merri-bek City Councils), and Wintringham. They will focus on connecting with older people who have significant difficulty accessing services and are at risk of missing out on the care they need. They will provide services tailored to the needs of local priority populations, including culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with disability, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. These groups were identified through a needs assessment that informed the commissioning process.

cohealth, VincentCare, Housing for the Aged Action Group, Merri Outreach Support Service and Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre are also joining the care finder network. These organisations previously supported older people through the ACH initiative. They will focus on assisting older people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

All 8 organisations will provide face-to-face support to help older people navigate, understand and access aged care services, as well as connect with other relevant community supports.

All providers will complement, not duplicate, My Aged Care. Although My Aged Care is the starting point to find out about and access aged care services, there have long been calls for more localised and face-to-face support to navigate access to the system.

NWMPHN Executive Director of Health System Integration Janelle Devereux said the care finder program will better connect health, aged care and other systems in the region.

“The aged care system is complex, and some people find it difficult to discover and access the services they need,” she said.

“We will work in partnership to improve integration locally between our care finder service providers and other parts of the care system, including primary health and specialist community supports.

“A care finder community of practice will meet regularly to share insights and drive system-wide improvements across Victoria, to support a cohort of people who are at serious risk of falling through the cracks.

“We look forward to working with our providers to ensure equitable access to aged care services for older adults where and when they need it, and in ways that are safe and inclusive for our diverse communities.”

More information is available on our website. Subscribe to our Network News e-newsletter to receive updates about the program, or contact for any enquiries.

Please note: other Victorian primary health networks also conducted tender processes in their regions. Visit their websites for more information on the partners identified in each region once they are confirmed.