Assistive technology and home modifications consultation and co-design outcomes
Assistive technology and home modifications are essential supports for many older Australians. These can help people maintain their independence and reduce the need for expensive ongoing services.
Examples include simple supports such as walkers, shower chairs and handrails, or more complex items such as wheelchairs and hoists.
Under the new in-home aged care program commencing 1 July 2024, it is proposed that individuals have upfront access to assistive technology and home modifications to meet assessed needs. This would be in addition to any other aged care supports the person requires.
In June 2022, 137 older Australians and informal carers, assessors, allied health professionals, peak bodies, and assistive technology and home modifications providers took part in a series of online consultations about assistive technology and home modifications.
In August, 48 representatives from these groups attended three co-design workshops to further explore the issues and a potential future model.
What we heard you want in a new assistive technologies and home modification scheme:
Preventative measures to promote early intervention and encourage people to plan for their future needs. This could resemble large-scale public health campaigns and targeted initiatives to raise awareness among health professionals.
Improved aged care assessments to provide assistive technology and home modifications, in a timely and safe manner. This would help assessors to assign or prescribe within their scope of practice (e.g. allowing prescriptions from a physiotherapist working as an aged care assessor). If an assessor does not have the skills and experience to prescribe the items needed, they could make referrals to allied health professionals. Training and communities of practice could support assessors.
Wrap-around supports to ensure assistive technology and home modifications are available for trial, are fitted or installed by qualified people and are safe to use. Training and support are also needed for older Australians, their families and carers to safely use some assistive technology and home modifications, as well as follow up support, reviews and reassessments.
Recommendations we received to make this model work:
Clear guidelines are needed to identify what is included or excluded in the new scheme. The guidelines need to clearly outline the roles and responsibilities for prescribers and other service providers, so people receive the services they need and don't fall through the cracks. Review processes should also be specified in guidelines, so people know what to do if issues or concerns arise.
Better support for people living in rural and remote areas, including greater use of teleconferencing or videoconferencing and allied health assistants, where appropriate.. We understand timely in-person consultations with allied health professionals will still be needed. Other suggestions included: mobile services and trialling options, travel assistance to access showrooms or support, and training tradespeople to install home modifications according to a prescription.
Rental options, to minimise waste and increase support offerings.
The funding model needs to support the scheme that we are trying to create.
What we’re doing
We will use this feedback to develop the policy and model for assistive technology and home modifications.
We need to ensure the assistive technology and home modifications policy meets the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people from other diverse groups. We also need to do more work to ensure the new scheme will support people living in rental properties who need home modifications.
Thank you to everyone who has been engaged in this process and participated in the sessions.
To receive updates and information on future consultation activities please sign up on the department’s engagement hub and keep an eye on current activities.
Let's change aged care, together
Every Australian should feel confident about accessing high quality and safe aged care, when and where they need it.
The changes mean older Australians will have greater choice and control, services that respect and meet their needs, and support to stay independent as they age.
To find out more and help design the changes, visit the Get Involved page or call 1800 318 209.