Aged care: how to find a Care Finder

Article published 17 July 2023

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Aged care: how to find a Care Finder

The aged care system is difficult to understand, so most people need more help than just a website can provide in finding the right care.

THE Aged Care Royal Commission gave a lot of attention to access and navigation of the aged care system. While the Royal Commission was running, there was the MyAgedCare website and call centre (1800 200 422).

If you were tech-savvy, the MyAgedCare website was of some value. The call centre was very hit-and-miss, and overall the quality of information provider by call centre operators was found to be wanting.

Since then, the Department of Health and Aged Care has started up two initiatives which allow people to speak face-to-face with … people.

Aged Care Specialist Officers

There are now 80 Centrelink offices Australia-wide where you can talk to an ACSO, or an Aged Care Specialist Officer.

An ACSO can providing specific information on in-home care and nursing home care and cost. They can refer you for an aged care assessment to get the ball rolling. If the Aged Care website and call centre are too much to deal with for you, they can help appoint somebody to represent you in your further dealings with aged care. An ACSO can also connect you to local support services.

Care Finders

First base of the local support services will often be Care Finders. Care Finders help people understand and access aged care and connect with other relevant supports in their community. As their title suggests, they help you find a suitable in-home care provider or a nursing home.

Care Finders are tasked to support people who don’t have family, friends, a carer or a representative they are comfortable receiving help from and who is willing and able to help them access aged care services and supports.

To become a Care Finder, an organisation must have demonstrated local community connections and specialist skills and experience supporting older people needing care.

A list of Care Finder organisations is available on the My Aged Care website.

To book a free face-to-face appointment to speak with an Aged Care Specialist Officer, you can call 1800 227 475 on weekdays from 8am to 5pm or you can visit any service centre to book a face-to-face appointment in an ACSO location.

ACSO or Care Finder?

So, what do you do if you think you need aged care?

If you can, you obviously try to find all the information you need on the MyAgedCare website, but let’s say you are unable to work out what you want to do about your aged care. What do you do then? Book an ACSO (Aged Care Specialist Officer) or a Care Finder?

That’s not as simple a question as it may seem. You don’t know what you don’t know, so you don’t know whether to contact an ACSO or a Care Finder.

It seems the best way to go about it is to contact an ACSO first, certainly when you have not yet been assessed for aged care. An ACSO can refer you for that. An ACSO can also refer you to a Care Finder, if you have been assessed. All up, your safest bet seems to be to book an appointment with an ACSO.

However, while eighty locations at which ACSOs operate sounds like a lot, it’s not really. You may therefore have trouble either getting an appointment at a time or a place convenient to you. Care Finders on the other hand are pretty much everywhere.

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