My Aged Care – My Aged Care blog for GPs

Sep 22, 2021

What is My Aged Care?

My Aged Care is the entry point for older Australians to access Government-funded aged care services. This program is suitable for patients who are beginning to need assistance around the home or starting to explore the option of aged care homes. Services you may not have considered for your patients include access to audiological and hearing rehabilitation.

Suppose your patients have an Age Pension, and their hearing loss and hearing goals meet a specific criterion. In that case, they are entitled to a tailored combination of fully subsidised hearing services, hearing aids and assistive listening devices through the Government-funded Hearing Services Program (HSP). These devices, however, are limited in their function and may not be suitable for all lifestyles.

One such example is where patients have poor dexterity or vision, and for whom managing hearing aids that require the replacement of small fiddly batteries is unsuitable. In this instance, the audiologist may recommend rechargeable technology, removing the need for battery replacement. Rechargeable hearing aids, however, are not currently funded by the Hearing Services Program, highlighting the importance of ensuring each patient’s needs, lifestyle and goals are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Furthermore, even with the assistance of hearing aids, there are situations where it can be difficult to distinguish speech. Therefore, patients may require additional accessories to help with a particular listening environment. For example, when communicating in noisy environments, patients may benefit from a remote microphone system worn by the speaker of interest or a TV streaming unit to improve the clarity and audibility of the TV program. In addition, the hearing impaired may be alerted to a fire risk via flashing smoke alarm systems which provide both visual and tactile cues.

These additional extras incur an out-of-pocket expense to the patient. For some, the cost is a deterrent to accessing technology that would significantly improve their quality of life. Literature shows social connectedness provides emotional and intellectual stimulation which is critical to extending like expectancy. Social connectedness is directly related to being able to hear and communicate. Therefore, cost should not be a barrier to hearing well and being well. My Aged Care should be considered a possible means to obtain funding for more advanced hearing aid and assistive listening device technologies.

It is important to note this service DOES NOT affect the patient’s pension. The Australian Government pays the subsidy directly to the service provider, not to the patient.

Make a referral to determine eligibility for service type and funding

If you believe your patient may need aged care services, you can make a referral to assess their needs using the online referral system. To make a referral, use this link Make a Referral | My Aged Care

Eligibility for service type and funding needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will be arranged once your referral is received.

To make a referral, you will need:

  • Patient consent to provide their details to My Aged Care
  • Patient DOB, address and contact number
  • Patient Medicare or DVA details

The referral form will take about 15 minutes to complete; however, you will be allowed 60 minutes to complete the form once you begin.

If a patient is eligible based on the information you have provided, an assessor will contact them in approximately three weeks to arrange an assessment.

Points to consider:

It is essential to note that aged care services are not substituting for early intervention, rehabilitation or sub-acute programs provided under the health system.

In exceptional circumstances, you may need to directly refer a client for urgent services to keep them safe, i.e., an immediate need for nursing, personal care, transport (if required within two weeks) and meals. In this circumstance, the service provider will need to refer the client to My Aged Care to conduct a holistic assessment and ensure ongoing access to services. Referral to aged care services should NOT take the place of post-acute services.

For more information, head to https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/

Victorian Hearing have eight clinics across Melbourne and can assist your patients with audiological and hearing rehabilitation needs. For further information or a meeting with one of our Audiologists, please contact 9558 8842 or email info@victorianhearing.com.au