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8.5 When attendant care services might reasonably be provided by a partner, relative or friend of the person
It is a legislative intention that attendant care services are not provided by a partner, relative or friend. It is therefore important to note that where attendant care services can be reasonably provided by a partner, relative or friend, then DVA will not pay for these services. Where it is unreasonable to expect family members to provide attendant care services, because this would create a substantial burden on them, then these services should be provided by a suitably qualified external attendant care provider.
Using professionally qualified providers helps to ensure that clients are receiving high quality and best practice care in line with industry standards. It also ensures:
- that the risk of carer burn out is managed appropriately by not burdening a partner, relative or friend with the expectations that they are required to manage the client’s ongoing personal care needs;
- that replacement carers will be available in times of sickness or absence at short notice;
- that carers have appropriate insurance cover and deliver services that meet work health and safety legislation;
- that qualified and credentialed staff are available to meet the client’s needs;
- that client needs are monitored appropriately and that care plans are put in place to ensure appropriate provision of services; and
- financial and taxation accountability of expenditure of government funds.
The legislative intention means that DVA will only consider requests for a partner, relative or friend to provide attendant care services to a client where there is evidence that exceptional circumstances apply. For more information about exceptional circumstances, please see section 8.5.1 of this Guide.
For a client who has high or complex care needs, if exceptional circumstances apply, Rehabilitation Coordinators must not approve requests for a partner, relative or friend to provide anything other than simple attendant care services, such as assistance with feeding or drinking, or setting up computers. The policy guidelines on attendant care services for high and complex care needs clients can be found in section 8.5.2 of this Guide.
Attendant care services are quite distinct from medical treatment or nursing care services. Treatment or nursing care can only be provided by trained health professionals who are unrelated to the client. Further information about the Community Nursing Program can be found in section 8.8 of this chapter.