Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
Many older Australians, especially those who experience socioeconomic disadvantage or come from diverse backgrounds, find the aged care system complex and difficult to access. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended establishing a workforce of ‘care finders’ to help older people and their families navigate the aged care system.
The care finder program was announced in the 2021-22 Budget as part of the Connecting Senior Australians to Aged Care Services measure. It is designed to provide intensive face-to-face support for older Australians who might otherwise ‘fall through the cracks’, and help them to access aged care and health services, along with social supports. Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are responsible for commissioning care finder organisations to deliver services based on identified local needs.
The department engaged AHA to evaluate the care finder program. Our evaluation will explore:
We will achieve these objectives through 3 parallel streams of work.
In the first stream, we will conduct interviews with care finders, older people and their families who access care finder services, and a range of stakeholders with a role in referring older people and their families to the care finder program.
In the second stream, we will create a bespoke online data management platform that will allow care finder organisations to submit activity and customer feedback data. Data submitted via this platform will not only inform our evaluation but will be available to participating organisations in the form of an interactive dashboard, supporting their own performance monitoring and continuous improvement initiatives.
In the third stream, we will undertake a desktop review of relevant program documentation from the department and PHNs to learn more about the planned models of commissioning and service delivery. My Aged Care and National Screening and Assessment Form data will also be reviewed to develop a picture of care finder clients, which will provide a greater understanding of clients’ circumstances, contexts and needs in relation to the program.
Our final report, due in 2025, will include evaluation findings and recommendations for improvements to the program.
The care finder program is designed to provide intensive face-to-face support for older Australians who might otherwise ‘fall through the cracks’, to help them access aged care, health services and social supports.