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8.9 Veterans' Home Care Program

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Last amended 
5 February 2016

For clients who hold a DVA Health Card, the following services can be provided through the Veterans’ Home Care (VHC) Program:

  • personal care - includes assistance with daily self-care tasks, such as eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, grooming, getting in and out of bed and moving about the house. These are tasks that the person would normally do themselves, but because of illness, disability or frailty, they require the assistance of another person.
  • respite care - means relief for a carer who has responsibility for the ongoing care, attention and support of another person who is in ill health or incapacitated. It provides an alternative form of care and enables carers to have a break. Respite care services may be provided in an appropriate accommodation setting or at home (including overnight or emergency care), or a combination of these.

Co-payments apply to VHC personal care services, but not respite care services.

The VHC program also provides domestic assistance and safety-related home and garden maintenance. Information about these additional VHC services can be found in section 7.5 of this Guide.

Duplicate benefits

Where personal care services are required due to an accepted condition under the MRCA or the SRCA then the attendant care provisions in the appropriate Act should be used, instead of the VHC Program. It is legislatively prescribed in the MRCA Treatment Principles that double-dipping is not permitted for similar services provided by VHC. With respect to SRCA, although it is not legislatively prescribed, for consistency, double-dipping should also be avoided between the SRCA provisions and VHC. Utilising the attendant care provisions in the respective Acts is part of a client-centric approach to the provision of services because a wider range of services are available through these provisions, than through the VHC. Additionally, no co-payments are required when services are provided through the MRCA/SRCA attendant care provisions.

This approach does not apply to respite care services through the VHC program.

Referrals to VHC

When a request for personal care services is received, VHC can be considered to fill gaps in service provision when:

  • the client holds a DVA Health Card;
  • a VHC assessment confirms that the services can be provided; and
  • the required services cannot be provided using the SRCA and MRCA provisions, as the need is not related to the client’s accepted conditions.

Clients who hold a DVA Health Card may be referred to a VHC assessment agency for consideration of their respite care needs.

To refer a client to a VHC assessment agency, please ask the client to contact 1300 550 450. Alternatively, delegates may contact the VHC Contract Support team for assistance.

Changes have been made to VHC View to alert VHC assessment agencies to potential MRCA/SRCA entitlements. It is therefore important when making the referral that the assessment agency is aware that the client’s eligibility for attendant care services has already been tested. This will help to prevent a client being referred back to the department unnecessarily.

If clients are experiencing barriers or issues to being considered for the VHC Program, please contact the Rehabilitation Policy team at rehabilitation@dva.gov.au, who will liaise with the VHC Contract Support team.

Wholly dependent partners and eligible young persons do not have access to the attendant care provisions in Chapter 4 of the MRCA. Therefore, personal care assistance can only be accessed through the VHC program.

More information about the VHC Program generally is available from the Veterans' Home Care page on the DVA website.