About the Community Visitors Scheme

Older Australians who receive government-subsidised residential aged care or Home Care Packages can have volunteer visitors through our Community Visitors Scheme. Learn about the scheme, how it works and who we work with.

What the Community Visitors Scheme is

The Community Visitors Scheme (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, including care recipients approved or on the National Priority System for residential or home care packages
  • is socially isolated.

Why it is 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.

Goals

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 it works

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.

Learn more about volunteering with the CVS.

Who we work with

We develop 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 and Aged Care

Reviews

Read the reports of our most recent reviews:

Future of the Community Visitors Scheme

The CVS is expanding and from 1 July 2023 will be renamed the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme (ACVVS) in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Recommendation 44c.

The ACVVS will continue to provide friendship and companionship to lonely and isolated senior Australians to improve their quality of life and social connections.

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