• If you are a carer of an older person with care needs living at home, it helps to know what supports are available.
  • There are a number of services and programs that can help you as your needs change.
  • The Home and Community Care (HACC) Program offers a range of services in the home and the community.
  • The Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) gives free home assessments to determine was government supports you need and are entitled to.

As circumstances change, it is important to continually assess what carer services and home help will be best for both you as a carer and the person you are caring for. This might be after the person returns home from a stint at hospital, or to support an older person with care needs, a person with a mental illness or a person with a disability living at home.

There are a number of agencies and programs that can provide support for carers, people with disabilities and older people with care needs to help them remain at home.

Victorian Support for Carers Program

The Victorian Support for Carers Program provides respite and other support to older carers, carers of older people and carers of younger people with dementia. 

The program focuses on person centred care and support through: 

  • one-off or short-term support for carers including goods and equipment, that can add to other services or fill service gaps 
  • support to people in a care relationship, and at the same time and at the same place if people want to be together while having the support service 
  • supporting people's wellbeing - quality of life, physical and mental wellbeing, social activity and or social connections. For example carers can get respite with social, health and other support.

To find your local Victorian Support for Carers Program local service, ring free call 1800 052 222 for information and help or find a local service from this list.

Home and Community Care (HACC) Program

The Home and Community Care (HACC) Program is Victoria’s main program for providing support both in the home and in the community to help older people with care needs, younger people with disabilities and carers. The range of help includes:

  • respite – at home and in the community
  • lifestyle help – jobs like shopping, paying bills and transport to appointments
  • household help – cleaning, clothes washing and ironing
  • personal care – bathing or showering, dressing, hair care and going to the toilet
  • home maintenance – general repairs to the house 
  • small home modifications – installing safety aids such as alarms, ramps and support rails.

To find out if the person you care for is eligible, a basic assessment is carried out to determine exactly what help you will need. The HACC Assessment Service  will visit you at your home and discuss the person’s ability to do various daily living activities and work out – in consultation with you and the person you care for – what sort of help and how much the person you care for needs. 

Although a fee is charged for most services, you will not be refused help if you or the person cannot afford to pay. The fee for HACC services is based on income level and can be organised by contacting your local council.

Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS)

ACAS supports older people with care needs, and their carers to help make decisions about their changing needs. This free government service provides:

  • assessments to work out the needs of the person and their carer 
  • information about health issues and service providers
  • advice about available options – for example, when the person is considering moving into residential care
  • help to link and coordinate services.

The assessment will identify the home care services you might need to help the person to stay at home. 

The ACAS team member (usually a nurse, social worker or other healthcare professional) will visit you at home (or in hospital) and talk to you and the person you care for about how well you and the person are managing day-to-day life. You will not be asked to make any decisions about your future during your assessment.

Assessment teams accept referrals from any source including doctors and self-referral.

Following the assessment, the person you care for will receive a letter notifying them if they are eligible for government services.

ACAS is called Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) in states other than Victoria. 

For people to receive the most age appropriate services, people under 65 years will usually first need to be assessed by Disability Services. To make a referral for a Disability Services assessment, contact 1800 783 783.

Carer self-assessment checklist

If you are a carer, there are a number of things to consider to make sure both you and the person you care for remain as healthy as possible, both physically and emotionally. 

By taking a carer needs assessment and self-assessing your situation, you will better know what resources you may need to draw on in the future. 

A good place to start for a self-assessment is to note down how many hours you spend each week helping, supervising or prompting the person you care for with, for example:

  • mobility (moving around the house, turning someone during the night)
  • personal hygiene (bathing, dressing, using the toilet)
  • eating and drinking (making sure they eat and drink, preparing food)
  • communication and social participation (organising social activities, help with communicating their needs to you or others)
  • health and treatment (giving medicine, therapeutic exercises)
  • safety (checking water temperature, making sure someone does not injure themselves or others)
  • behaviour (supervising and understanding why people act the way they do).

Knowing how much time you spend on these homecare activities will help when you are assessed for government carer support services. 

The Carers Australia Carer Checklist for Disability Care Australia Assessment

Aids and equipment

The Victorian Government also funds a range of aids and equipment programs for people with a disability and for older people with care needs to stay living at home. For the full list and details of how to apply to equipment programs currently funded through the Department of Health & Human Services, see the Organising equipment and aids fact sheet.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS), call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 
  • Commonwealth Carelink and Respite Centre, call 1800 052 222
  • NURSE-ON-CALL, call 1300 60 60 24
  • Victorian Support for Carers Program local service, ring free call: 1800 052 222 for information and help or find a local service from this list.

More information

Carers, caring and respite care services topics

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Support for carers

Day to day caring and support

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services

Last updated: October 2015

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