Submission to Community Visitors Scheme Review

COTA Australia welcomes the opportunity to provide this submission to the Review of the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS). The CVS has been a successful program that has evolved to the changing needs of aged care clients. In recent years CVS has trialled group visits in homes, introduced visits within the community for socially isolated people eligible for Home Care packages and improved services for diverse populations. While COTA has identified isolated issues with the CVS program in residential care, on the whole it would appear this long standing service continues to operate efficiently and effectively in residential care.

A summary of COTA’s recommendations from throughout this submission are replicated here:

COTA recommends that clear information and amendments to the current system are made available to:

  • Provide a dedicated page on My Aged Care about the Community Visitors Scheme;
  • Provide information about CVS auspice organisations, initially on the dedicated page and eventually through an update to the service finder. Promote this information through the Department of Health’s eNewsletter to the Aged Care Sector; and
  • Allow for consumers, their families and friends to make direct referrals to the CVS auspice, without requiring those referrals to go through the service provider.

COTA recommends the CVS guidelines be amended to permit CVS providers to engage directly with clients based on referrals from clients or family/friends without being required to work through the Home Care or Residential Care provider.

COTA recommends that the CVS program be updated to create a new mandated nationally-consistent training on aged care information and navigation, along with optional training modules for nationally-consistent general training of volunteers.

COTA recommends that the CVS program be maintained as primarily a visitation scheme, without requiring volunteers to perform any other additional support/services.

We also recommend that the CVS consider including targeted CVS auspices for older Australians with mental health concerns, dementia and other cognitive impairments.

COTA recommends that CHSP social support programs like ‘Friendly Visitors’ that are deemed comparable to CVS be identified and considered for incorporation within the CVS program in the future.