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First national evaluation report: care finder program

The care finder program is funded to provide intensive help to older Australians who need extra support to access aged care and other community support systems. Country SA PHN in 2023 commissioned 3 organisations to deliver the program across our regions.

The Department of Health and Aged Care engaged Australian Healthcare Associates to evaluate the program nationally. In May, the first report was released. Information in the report was gathered from monthly data submitted, consultation with the Department, PHNs, care finder organisations, care finders and older people themselves.

The extensive report shared many findings, here are few:

  • Referral pathways into and out of the program are being well established. In SA, 47% referrals into care finder were from Health Professionals, interestingly nationally this was only 15% of the referral route.
  • Nationally 18 000 people have been reported as being helped by a care finder. In country SA, 815 older people have benefited. This is a phenomenal achievement with just 22 care finders of various full-time equivalents across country SA.
  • Not surprisingly, 43% of external referrals nationally, were to aged care services. This is much in line with the 44% referrals to aged care services in SA.
  • Nationally 44% of care finder support was delivered face to face, with a national range between 28-67%, with SA sitting at 38%. The report does comment that care finders in or servicing rural and remote settings, found they often did not have adequate resources to always deliver support in person. Distance of travel was a factor.

It was noted nationally:

  • The complexity of client needs is much greater than the intended scope of the role of the care finder.
  • The compassionate nature of those in care finder roles and the programs ‘no wrong door’ policy, resulted in many care finders holding the load of client support far beyond their intended remit.

Key system barriers were:

  • Lack of availability of services, with demand exceeding supply, this was in the aged care and housing sectors.
  • Lack of appropriate pathways and knowledge to support those younger than 65, who are eligible for aged care service.

The care finder program has many future opportunities and continues to evolve as all the networks involved, pursue this important and needed service. If you would like to read the report in full visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Country SA PHN would like to thank, Country & Outback Health consortium, AgedCare Alternatives and Centacare Catholic Country SA for delivering the care finder program across country SA. The dedication of the workforce and their drive to support the program is commendable and much appreciated. 

If you would like more information on the care finder program and how to contact a care finder service in country SA, please visit the Country SA PHN website or contact Helen Morley, care finder lead. Email hmorley@countrysaphn.com.au or call 08 8303 7710.

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