COVID-19 update

On 29 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced $10 million for the CVS to further support older people who may be feeling more isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are focusing on phone and virtual friendships while physical distancing measures and visiting restrictions are in place.

You can register as a volunteer or care recipient to use the phone and virtual service. To get started, see the guidelines below and contact the CVS network member in your state or territory.

Find out more in our CVS COVID-19 frequently asked questions for auspices.

What is the CVS?

The CVS supports volunteer visits to provide friendship and companionship to older people.

Visits are available to anyone who:

  • receives government-subsidised residential aged care or Home Care Packages
  • is socially isolated

Why is the CVS important?

Some older people feel alone for various reasons, including:

  • little contact with friends or relatives
  • feeling isolated from their culture and heritage
  • mobility issues that prevent them from taking part in social or leisure activities
  • being different in some way

Regular visits from volunteers can help to improve quality of life and help older people feel less isolated.

What are the goals of the CVS?

The CVS is a free service that aims to:

  • provide friendship and companionship to older people
  •  help develop social connections

It focuses on the needs of older people at higher risk of feeling isolated, including the special needs groups under the Aged Care Act 1997. These include:

  • people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • people who live in rural or remote areas
  • people who are financially or socially disadvantaged
  • people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
  • veterans
  • care leavers
  • parents separated from their children by forced adoption or removal
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

How does the CVS work?

The CVS funds organisations to:

  • recruit, train and support volunteer visitors
  • conduct police checks for volunteers
  • match volunteers to older people receiving aged care
  • support the relationships that form between the volunteers and the people they visit

Volunteers visit at least 20 times per year. They can be:

  • one-on-one or group visits to residential aged care homes
  • one-on-one visits to people receiving Home Care Packages

Older people can refer themselves to the CVS. The CVS also accepts referrals from:

  • aged care service providers
  • family members
  • friends

Find out more in our FAQs for consumers.

To volunteer or make a referral, contact the CVS network member in your state or territory.

    Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) National Guidelines

    This document outlines the aims of the CVS and sets out the roles and responsibilities of CVS auspices and network members, volunteers, aged care service providers, care recipients, the Department of Health and the Department of Social Services.

    Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) Care Recipient Profile Form

    Use this form to provide care recipient details, including any preferences, to help the CVS match the care recipient to a suitable volunteer visitor. This form can be completed by an aged care service provider, a CVS auspice coordinator, the care recipient or their representative.

    Who works with us on the CVS?

    The Department of Health develops CVS policy, manages the CVS and organises reviews of the CVS.

    We fund organisations, through grant rounds, to provide CVS services. Funded CVS organisations are known as auspices.

    We also fund CVS network members to:

    • support auspices to deliver the CVS
    • coordinate CVS volunteers and services in each state and territory
    • help communication between auspices and the Department of Health

    Reviews

    Read the reports of our most recent reviews:

    CVS for aged care service providers

    Community Visitors Scheme (CVS): Frequently Asked Questions for Aged Care Service Providers

    This document is for providers of government-subsidised residential aged care and Home Care Packages. It includes who is eligible for the CVS, what to do if your care recipient cannot attend a scheduled visit, and your responsibilities as a service provider.

    CVS for auspices

    Community Visitors Scheme (CVS): Frequently Asked Questions for Auspices

    This document provides information for auspices — organisations funded to deliver the CVS. Find out how you must deliver the CVS including how to manage volunteers and visits and what to do if you receive or give gifts.

    Become a CVS volunteer visitor

    Volunteering as a community visitor can be a rewarding experience. By befriending an older person, you can make a positive difference to their lives as well as your own.

    Aged care recipients come from various social and cultural backgrounds. Volunteers from all backgrounds are welcome. 

    If you’re interested in becoming a visitor, contact the CVS network member in your state or territory.

    Community Visitors Scheme (CVS): Frequently Asked Questions for Volunteer Visitors

    The CVS matches volunteer visitors with people receiving government-subsidised aged care services. Find out what a CVS volunteer visitor does, why the experience is valuable, how to become one and what your responsibilities would be.

    Contacts

    To find out more about volunteering as a visitor or referring someone to the scheme, contact the CVS network member in your state or territory.

    For LGBTI CVS services in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland or Western Australia, contact one of the LGBTI CVS members.

    Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) contact

    Contact us if you have any questions about the CVS.

    CVS [at] health.gov.au

    View contact

    Last updated: 
    14 May 2020
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