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Helping older Victorians who need nursing homes or home care

12 February, 2009

In a one-off measure, the Australian Government has removed the need for aged care assessments for older Victorians affected by the bushfires so they can access short-term or temporary nursing home or community care – as quickly as possible.

“This is about getting the support older Victorians need – whether it is a nursing home or help at home,” the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot said.

Aged care assessments teams assess the care needs of older Australians to help determine their eligibility for Australian Government-funded services – such as community aged care and aged care homes. The Australian Government has decided to remove the assessment during this emergency for those in bushfire areas.

This morning (February 10), Elliot wrote to aged care homes in Victoria explaining the immediate changes and encouraged them to accept emergency residents where possible.

The emergency funding would be made available to all Victorian aged care homes that provide respite for people with temporary care needs.

Care may include in-home care for people who have lost their carers, or respite in overnight cottages for those who have lost their homes.

Emergency funding has been made available under the National Respite for Carers Program so that Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres can purchase or broker respite for people with temporary care needs.

Elliot praised the response of staff and community members who have been involved in evacuations.

During the bushfires, there have been evacuations of three aged care homes – Hillview Bunyip Aged Care; Neerim District Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and Beechworth Health Service Residential Care Program.

“I commend the staff and management at these homes for their dedication to the care of their residents.

“We will continue to respond to the needs of people affected by this disaster and will work with the aged care sector to ensure all of the elderly people affected receive the care they need,” Elliot said.

Aged care providers can contact the Department of Health and Ageing in Victoria on (03) 9665 8601 or 1800-059-059 for further details.

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