UnitingSA has been selected as one of 22 organisations across Australia to deliver the national EnCOMPASS Multicultural Aged Care Connector Program.

Delivered by the national peak body for multicultural communities, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA), and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health, the program aims to improve access to culturally appropriate aged care services.

UnitingSA was announced as the chosen partner for both metropolitan West and regional SA (which covers the Riverland, Hills, Mallee and Southern regions).

Partners were selected based on their demonstrated capacity and strong commitment to helping older people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. This cohort often struggles to navigate the aged care system and access services that suit their cultural needs.

UnitingSA’s Executive Manager for Aged Care, Sue Krake, says that this program will complement services already being provided in these regions and draw on strong relationships with service providers and the community.

“Our EnCOMPASS Connectors working across these regions will provide individualised specialist support to people aged 65 years and over from a CALD background,” she says.

“This means meeting with them, their carers and family members – with language assistance provided by our bilingual, bicultural workers – to firstly understand their circumstances and needs”.

“Connectors will then assist clients to register with My Aged Care and offer support with aged care assessments. Information about different service options is then provided in the older person’s preferred language so that they are able to make informed decisions about their care.”

UnitingSA’s EnCOMPASS Connector for metropolitan West, Deepak Dev, adds that all of the above processes are often difficult for those in the community who speak a language other than English, have complex needs, and feel isolated or vulnerable.

“We essentially help them navigate the entire continuum of aged care services and continue to check in with them to ensure the services they are receiving are tailored and culturally-appropriate,” he says.

The EnCOMPASS program will add to UnitingSA’s continuum of Community Aged Care offerings, and utilise the expertise of bilingual and bicultural staff from UnitingSA’s Ethnic Link Services which has supported older people from CALD backgrounds for more than 30 years.

EnCOMPASS Connectors will also actively engage with CALD community leaders and representatives, aged care assessment teams, aged care providers, GP clinics, local government and health services to foster and support improved service pathways for older people from CALD backgrounds.

Please note: As of January 2023, UnitingSA is no longer delivering the EnCOMPASS program. To find out more about the EnCOMPASS program, visit: fecca.org.au/encompass