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Assessment of Indigenous Older Peoples’ Needs for Home and Community Care in Remote Central Australia


The Home and Community Care (HACC) program in Australia provides services which supports older people to live at home. Individual HACC organisations are generally responsible for initial assessment of eligibility and need of clients presenting for services. This paper reports on a project which aimed to develop an understanding of the various approaches to assessment of client needs in Central Australia. The majority of clients in this geographical area are indigenous. The project was initiated in recognition of the primary importance of assessment in determining service access and service delivery and of the particular challenges faced by service providers in remote areas. This paper discusses key project findings including the client group and services provided, initial needs assessment and care planning processes. Evident inconsistencies in practice reflect a variety of complex contextual factors. Staff in remote areas have an inadequate knowledge base to draw upon to assist them with assessment and care planning decisions, and further research and professional development is required.

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  1. A ‘sorry camp’ is a meeting of relatives and other community members associated with a deceased person. It is part of the traditional funeral and mourning process, and certain people are expected to attend. These camps are generally located at special places some distance away from usual living areas, and length of stay can vary in length (Byard and Chivell 2005), often up to several days.


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This project was funded by the Northern Territory Department of Heath and Community Services with a HACC “Innovative Project” grant. The authors would like to thank Ms Tahnia Edwards (Indigenous Academic, Centre for Remote Health, Alice Springs), for reviewing the final draft of this paper.

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Correspondence to Melissa A. Lindeman.

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Lindeman, M.A., Pedler, R.P. Assessment of Indigenous Older Peoples’ Needs for Home and Community Care in Remote Central Australia. J Cross Cult Gerontol 23, 85–95 (2008).

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  • Indigenous older people
  • Client assessment
  • Remote communities
  • Home and community care