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My Aged Care Update

11 November 2016

MAC Consumer Journey infographicThe PICAC My Aged Care CALD Accessibility Project is well underway, with the PICAC NSW & ACT team working in collaboration with consumers, service providers and multicultural communities to identify access barriers and possible solutions for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people aged 65 and over when accessing My Aged Care.

As part of the project, we have taken a number of approaches to ascertain existing access barriers. These included conducting both face-to-face and online surveys with a broad mix of consumers, carers and service providers at major events, including the 2016 National Multicultural Festival, MCCI and FECCA Illawarra Multicultural Aged Care Talks, MCCI Multicultural Seniors Expo and CALDWays 2016 Forum.

To assist the aged care sector with informing CALD consumers about the MAC system, PICAC NSW & ACT has developed a MAC CALD Consumer Journey infographic [495 KB PDF], which has been adopted by a number of organisations.

Ongoing engagement with our PICAC partners and other stakeholders into the access issues affecting CALD older people when using My Aged Care has identified more prominent barriers than originally identified. These are also reflected in other research undertaken by:

  • QLD Government, 2011, 'Barriers to engagement with CALD communities – introduction to working with CALD communities'
  • Tyrone, A., & Karanastasis, T., 2016, Impact of the National Ageing and Aged Care Strategy for People from CALD backgrounds
  • Multicultural Aged Care (South Australia), 2016, collated survey data on My Aged Care barriers
  • Productivity Commission Inquiry Report Overview, No 53, 2011, Caring for Older Australians

Prominent barriers identified include:

Language and literacy:

  • written and verbal barriers in English
  • not understanding aged care jargon
  • inability to understand contemporary language from former homelands.

Not understanding the age care system:

  • the new aged care system is complex to navigate for CALD older people
  • many CALD older people are not aware that services exist, especially for those from countries where aged care services do not exist.

Communication and technology:

  • many older people fear using the telephone if they are required to speak in English
  • there may also be an inability to communicate over the phone due to a hearing impairment and using TIS services
  • computers can also be an inconvenience as many of CALD older people do not operate or understand the functions and specifications of a computer.

Complexity of assessment process:

  • some older people have been assessed three times
  • there have been examples of consumers declining services because of the long waiting time or other support
  • some clients confused having to tell their stories up to three times
  • long waiting periods between the request for services and delivery of services.


  • fear or suspicion of the motives of the Australian Government, including fear of authority
  • lack of confidence to connect with government agencies
  • lack of knowledge about appropriate behaviour with government officials.

Lack of cultural competency:

  • lack of awareness of culturally sensitive behaviour by government officials or those representing government
  • lack of individual contact or case management
  • bilingual staff or interpreters not being utilised during assessments
  • CALD consumers not being referred to ethno specific services when they requested it
  • lack of cultural competency training among call centre staff and assessors.

What's next?

Phase 2 of the project has now commenced and will focus on gathering ideas for solutions and recommendations which will be provided to the Department of Health in early 2017.

The PICAC NSW & ACT team will continue to focus on working in collaboration with various stakeholders to contribute their recommendations into the report.

To date there has been interest from various stakeholders including multicultural community leaders and organisations, service providers, council committees and various government departments. Please notify PICAC if you are interested in contributing to this part of this project.

Contact us

Please feel free to contact the PICAC NSW & ACT office on 02 4227 4222 or email Josi Krizanac directly.

All contributing organisations will be acknowledged in the final report to the Department of Health.

PICAC NSW & ACT would like to thank all individuals and organisations that have already contributed to the project.