Australasian Multiple Sclerosis Network of Care Multiple Sclerosis Network of Care Australia

A Voice for People Affected by MS

Home Care and Related Support  

CCSVI Australia

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Homecare Abstracts What is Multiple Sclerosis? News Headlines Quick Reference Guide   


There is a range of services to assist people with Multiple Sclerosis (pwMS) to manage at home.  Self referral to most services is encouraged. Some services may be means tested/and or require a co-payment. Over time, these services (collectively) can play an important role in managing when living with MS and are well worth exploring. Newly diagnosed

Funded through increases in the Medicare levy the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a non means tested social insurance scheme designed to transform the way disability services are provided in Australia. NDIS aims to provide reasonable and necessary help to eligible participants to reach their goals, objectives and aspirations in a range of areas, which may include education, employment, social participation, independence, living arrangements, health and wellbeing - some examples. For an overview of wide ranging NDIS issues click here.
Traditionally, disability support funding was provided to service and care providers in block payments.  NDIS provides this funding directly to people with a disability who qualify for the scheme. It also assists them to make informed decisions about the best supports and services they require to help live their life to the fullest.  Commencing in July 2013 NDIS was progressively introduced with the initial launch sites being in South Australia, Tasmania, the Hunter region in New South Wales and the Barwon region of Victoria. The Australian Capital Territory launch commenced in July 2014. The national full roll out commenced on 1 July 2016 - find out more.
 Of significance, access to NDIS is restricted to those aged 64 and below with qualifying disabilities. Those who turn 65 when they are also existing NDIS participants can choose to remain as NDIS participants or transfer to the range of aged care related services provided by the Australian Government. Those already over 64, who are not existing NDIS participants, may be able to obtain support through the revised Home Care Packages Programs introduced by the Australian Government effective from August 2013. This apparent age discrimination is a controversial issue - find out more.
These means tested programs, based upon the principles of Consumer Directed Care (CDC), replaced the former programs known as Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs), Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH), and Extended Aged Care and Home Dementia (EACHD). The revised programs are coordinated packages of services tailored to meet individual consumer's specific care needs. Originally packages were coordinated by a home care provider, with funding provided by the Australian Government. However in February 2017 this funding (with some exceptions) became available directly to eligible participants enabling them to select services and service providers appropriate to their individual circumstances  - find out more.
The progressive introduction of NDIS, accompanied by, at times, concurrent significant changes in approaches to Home Care funding and service delivery, provides many potential challenges for those in need of support and their carers. For many, access to informed independent advice to alleviate uncertainty and guide decision making is a significant issue, especially in the transitional stages, which can vary between States and Territories. For example, while NDIS includes an undertaking to "assist eligible participants to make informed decisions" no such undertaking appears to yet exist in relation to the revised Home Care Packages program. It is an environment generating significant debate
The Australian Government it is developing a national Code of Conduct to promote safe and ethical service delivery for NDIS. Consultation is open until 21 June 2017. People with disability, their families and carers, providers and workers to are encouraged to share their comments and feedback .To get involved, visit to read the discussion paper, complete a survey or make a submission.
This need for impartial assistance is of particular significance in non metropolitan areas.  A wide ranging study by Access Economics titled Acting Positively - The Strategic Implications of MS in Australia observes that "people with MS are over-represented in rural and regional areas, where access to services (particularly respite) and workforce adequacy (notably medical) is poorest". These factors are exacerbated by disability level, extreme distances, poor or no public transport, minimal/inappropriate support, access to information and financial considerations. While these factors exist, to varying degrees, in most Australian States, they are most evident in Queensland and NSW where more than 50% of relatively large MS populations reside in non metropolitan areas
There remains a strong case for targeted block funding to support multi disciplined, geographically relevant, overarching services who are able to bridge these isolation factors through the provision of unbiased guidance and support to those most at risk. Expertise across a range of chronic disabilities may also be an important consideration. Such an approach to encompass both NDIS and Home Care clients. This is possibly a function that could be embraced under the rapidly evolving Medicare Local umbrella - more about issues of this type

Following is a selection of Home Care and support programs and services identified by people with MS. While some of these may relate to services in a specific locality they typify the types of support more broadly available.  If in doubt check with your regional MS Australia representative to find out about the availability of these or comparable services in your locality. Topics are presented alphabetically




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Air Conditioning In some situations MS Australia may be able to partially assist with the financial cost of installing essential air conditioning. Cases are treated on their merits and are also subject to the availability of funding. Many people with Multiple Sclerosis experience temporary worsening of symptoms when they have an increase in body temperature, even by as little as 0.5ēC. For many individuals this can affect their experience of MS fatigue as demyelinated nerves are extremely sensitive to temperature changes. Some report similar problems with decreases in body temperature. - See also energy rebates Your local MS Community support worker Visit  
Carer Support   Visit the area of this Road Map dealing with Carer Support Topics include assistance to family members, FlexiRest, NSW carers action plan, Commonwealth Carelink Service , carer respite program, carer support groups, carer allowance, carer payment, companion cards, Centrelink assistance. 1800-052-222 Visit
Chronic Disease Management Care Plans This program enables GPs to develop care plans to coordinate the health care of patients with chronic medical conditions, including patients who require multidisciplinary, team-based care from a GP and at least two other health or care providers.  The program is designed for patients who require a structured approach to their care.  Eligible services, up to 5 in total per year, are Aboriginal Health Workers,  Audiologists, ˇ Chiropractors,  Diabetes Educators, ˇ Dieticians,  Exercise Physiologists,  Mental Health Workers,  Occupational Therapists, Osteopaths,  Physiotherapists,  Podiatrists,  Psychologists,  Speech Pathologists. Your local GP Visit
Computers Workventures - previously Technical Aids for the Disabled (TAD) - supplies computers to people with disabilities at a significantly reduced cost. Anyone with a disability or anyone in receipt of a Centrelink benefit is eligible to apply for a computer. There is no means test and no need for a referral. 1800 112 205    Visit
Continence Assistance   The Continence Aids Assistance Scheme (CAAS)  is a Commonwealth program offering financial assistance to people who have permanent and ongoing incontinence as a result of a neurological condition or severe intellectual impairment.   . 1800-330-066   Visit  
Custom Designed Aids Technical Aids for the Disabled. Each year, the TAD Custom Designed Aids Service produces over 1000 assistive devices that allow people with disabilities to maximise their opportunities and live their lives more fully TAD volunteers construct assistive devices that are not commercially available or customise commercially available devices to suit a client 1300-663-243   TAD  
Energy Rebate

Varies by State.
Effective from 1 January 2010, a rebate of $130 per annum is available to those who have an inability to self-regulate body temperature when exposed to extremes (hot or cold) of environmental temperatures. It is associated with certain medical conditions such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis Either the account holder or anyone residing at the residence must have an inability to self-regulate body temperature. This requires the completion of a signed form by a medical practitioner who has been treating you for at least three months. Click here for the application form or contact your energy supplier. See also under air conditioning financial support Your electricity supplier Visit
Home Modifications

Varies by State.
Home Modification Service. Provides home modifications for disabled people to enable them to continue living in their own homes - includes grab rails, ramps, bathroom modifications and related services.     Visit
Home Nursing

Varies by State. 
Community Nurses provide services to all clients A high priority is given to ensuring that people living in the community have access to services close to home. Referral is by your local GP   Your GP   Visit  
Income Support Visit the area of this Road Map dealing with Income Support Topics include financial planning assistance, employment and income support,    Visit
Independent Living Centres The Independent Living Centres are committed to providing the community with the resources needed to "make every day living easier". The Centres are leading providers of information and advice on an extensive range of assistive technology that can help individuals improve their quality of life and remain independent. The correct application of assistive technology can greatly improve the independence and quality of life for people with a disability or chronic disease. 1300 885 886   Visit
Mobility Aids   Refer to the Transport and Mobility section of this road map. Includes details of PADP services   Visit
MS Service Provision Guidelines   Multiple Sclerosis Network of Care   This area of the Road Map highlights key aspects of multiple sclerosis service delivery that have application across a range of disciplines. The aim is to provide guidelines that foster more cohesive and relevant "Networks of MS Care".    Visit
MS Specific Assistance MS Australia    Services include:  Peer Support Program, MS Connect Help line, Support for Service providers.  


Networking   Multiple Sclerosis Network of Care   Networking options include details of Support Groups/Networks across Australia. National  Directory Visit  
Occupational Therapy   Occupational Therapy improves development and function, helps to prevent injury, and promotes safety for individuals suffering disability, injury, or disease.    Therapists provide assessment and treatment, home and group programs, home modifications and equipment prescription. They have a interest in Health Promotion and injury prevention   National    Directory   Visit  
Physiotherapy   Physiotherapy services include health promotion, group activities. community physiotherapy, home visits.        National    Directory Visit  
Respite Care  Visit the area of this Road Map dealing with Respite Care Topics include national respite program for carers, services provided by Carers NSW   Visit
Transport and Mobility Visit the area of this Road Map dealing with Transport and Mobility Topics include taxi vouchers, disabled parking permits, mobility allowance, PADP, mobility aids, scooters, wheelchairs, community transport, bus concessions, companion cards, access to public toilets, modified and wheelchair accessible vehicles, vehicle swivel seats   Visit
Young People    Young People in Nursing Homes National Alliance is Australia's first
peak body for young Australians living in aged care facilities (or at risk of placement there) with a disability, who also have high and complex support needs
The program aims to prevent young people with high and complex support needs being placed in aged care nursing homes now and in the future.     Visit





Related Reading


Multiple Sclerosis Needs, Issues and Expectations

Developed  by the MS Network of Care, this area of the Road Map highlights the relationship between studies relating to MS prevalence cross referenced to  benchmarks for addressing care needs according to disability level. Includes details of the Charter of Individual Rights and Expectations and identifies the top 20 ' common issues' ranked by  frequency of reporting as identified by 2618 people with MS in NSW.  A useful checklist for service providers and the MS Community.




Facts Sheet RM869MS

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