Integrated Carer Support Service Model
As part of the 2015-2016 Budget, the Australian Government announced the development of an Integrated Plan for Carer Support Services (the Plan). The Plan was developed to reflect the Australian Government’s priorities for carers, and outlines actions to recognise, support and sustain the vital work of unpaid carers.
The Integrated Carer Support Service model, known as Carer Gateway, has been designed based on evidence that shows the best way to support carers is to help them early in their caring role, increasing their skills and reducing the strain of caring.
Under Carer Gateway, carers have been introduced to a range of tailored supports and services to help them manage their daily challenges, reduce stress and plan for the future. The services focus on providing carers with access to early-intervention, preventative and skill building supports, to improve well-being and long-term outcomes.
Services and support for carers
Following an extensive four-year consultation process with carers and the sector, the Australian Government developed Carer Gateway, the single biggest reform to carer services in more than a decade. It is an Australian Government initiative providing a range of free in-person, online and phone-based support and services to unpaid carers.
Carer Gateway was implemented in a two-phase approach, with the first phase implemented in July 2019 and the second from April 2020.
Phase one saw the introduction of new online and phone-based supports including free phone counselling, online peer support, self-guided coaching, in-person coaching and practical educational resources. These supports aim to improve carer wellbeing, skills and knowledge.
Phase two followed a grant round to select and announce the lead Carer Gateway service providers, which were implemented to help carers access:
- carer needs and support planning
- in-person counselling
- in-person peer support
- targeted financial support through carer directed support packages with a focus on employment, education, respite and transport
- emergency respite
- in-person coaching
- information and advice
- assistance with navigating relevant, local services available to carers through federal, state and local government and non-government providers, including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), My Aged Care and palliative care.
Carer Gateway service providers have shopfronts, service outlets and a flexible workforce to achieve service coverage across urban, regional and rural Australia.
For more information about the Integrated Carer Support Service Delivery Model, see the resources below:
- Integrated Carer Support Service Blueprint: description of the different service components (and their relationship) required to commission and operate Carer Gateway.
- Carer Support Planning Framework: The Carer Support Planning Framework and summary.
- Service Area Map and Table: A map of Carer Gateway Service Areas and relevant service providers.
- Process evaluation of Carer Gateway summary: In 2021, Urbis Pty Ltd finalised a process evaluation on the implementation of Carer Gateway for the department.
- Impact evaluation of carer support programs.