The Community Visitors’ Scheme is funded by the Australian Government
The Community Visitors’ Scheme (CVS) is a national program funded by the Australian Government and developed in 1992.
The CVS is available to residents of Australian Government-subsidised residential aged care facilities and residents living in their own home receiving a Home Care Package.
To be eligible for CVS these residents would have been identified as experiencing or at risk of experiencing social isolation, whether for social or cultural reasons or because of disability.
The CVS is managed by local community groups who have come together to apply for accreditation and funding. On the Far South Coast of NSW , UnitingCare Merimbula is the overseeing body and it has a local paid coordinator responsible for:
- recruiting, training and supporting volunteer community visitors;
- matching volunteers to care recipient; and
- supporting visitor-recipient relationships.
The CVS matches community volunteers with aged care recipients. Volunteers provide one-to-one visits on a regular basis within residential aged care facilities or into the homes of people receiving a home care package. Group visits within residential aged care facilities are also part of the CVS.
Any care Aged care provider can refer anyone whose life could be improved by the companionship of a regular community visitor.
Referrals are also accepted from family members.
CVS aims to:
It is expected that residents would experience quality of life improvements including:
- increased self-esteem or feelings of general well-being;
- increased sense of purpose;
- diminished feelings of loneliness and isolation, or depression and anxiety maintenance or increase in independence;
- feeling cared for and being connected to the community.
For volunteers, there is also a sense of achievement in developing new friendships and being valued. And there is the opportunity to give back to the community.
(To view the Australian Government Community Visitors Scheme Information page please click here)
The CVS in the Far South Coast of NSW
The Community Visitors’ Scheme (CVS) is hosted by UnitingCare Merimbula and operates under the name CVS Sapphire Coast. UnitingCare Merimbula is responsible for meeting all conditions of the Community Visitors’ Scheme Grant as outlined in the CVS Grant Agreement and Guidelines. This includes:
- The provision of reports
- The administration of the grants in accordance with Commonwealth requirements;
- The provision of adequate insurance cover for volunteer visitors;
- The development of selection criteria for the Coordinator;
- The selection of appropriately experienced persons to the position of Coordinator;
- The supervision and monitoring of the performance of the Coordinator to
- ensure the scheme is managed in accordance with the Agreement and Guidelines;
- Ensuring that the CVS Program Services Manual is maintained consistent with guidelines; and
- The provision of administrative support and office accommodation as required.
Committee of Management:
UnitingCare Merimbula is responsible for the provision of a Committee of Management to support and enhance co-ordination of the Scheme.
UnitingCare Merimbula Duty of Care:
Duty of Care is an obligation, recognised by law, to avoid conduct that would pose unreasonable risk to others.
A CVS Community Visitors’ Duty of Care is using commonsense and exercising reasonable caution in any activities undertaken with the recipient. This includes not putting residents’ health or safety at risk in any way.
Under Duty of Care it is necessary to avoid new, strenuous, different or unusual activities without consulting with staff from the aged care facility or the CVS Coordinator (for those residents in their own home). This applies particularly with any plan to take a resident from the aged care facility/or their home to another venue.
Accidents and unforeseeable difficulties do not constitute a breach of a Community Visitors’ Duty of Care, provided appropriate care has been taken.