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Aids and equipment

Aids and equipment, sometimes called Assistive Technology (AT), can help people with disability, people living with a chronic or serious illness and people who are frail due to age, to maintain their independence and safety. They can also make caring safer and less physically demanding.

What is available

There is a wide range of specialised aids and equipment that people with disability, people living with a chronic or serious illness and people frail due to age can use in their home, in a residential facility, or out in the community to improve their independence and safety. These include:

  • Mobility aids, such as walking frames or wheel chairs to help the person you care for move around safely
  • Personal care aids, which make activities such as showering, dressing and eating easier
  • Personal safety devices can help your care recipient alert someone when they need assistance
  • Home automation software enables people to control different things within their home from a central point, such as a phone or tablet
  • Bedding, seating and lifting equipment can minimise pressure and skin problems and help with lifting the person you care for
  • Prosthetic and sensory aids replace a body part or function that is missing or not working well
  • Life support equipment assists with vital functions such as breathing and kidney dialysis
  • Communication aids help people who find it difficult to communicate their needs, to read or write without assistance or to use communications technologies

How to access aids and equipment

Some types of equipment can be costly and are generally purchased privately, while others may be rented or used temporarily at no personal cost, or purchased with some or all of the cost covered by a government subsidy or package.

How much equipment costs usually depends on the age of the person you care for and the reason they need it, for example whether they have a significant and permanent disability, or a temporary injury when coming out of hospital.

Sometimes a health professional such as an occupational therapist (OT) will be able to help you to work out what aids and equipment will be the most helpful and appropriate.

Useful services

My Aged Care - 1800 200 422 (Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 8.00pm, Saturdays 10.00am to 2.00pm)

Access to a range of supports and services for older Australians.

If the person that you care for is over 65 (or over 50 if they are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander), they may be able to access aids and equipment through My Aged Care. You can contact My Aged Care to learn more and request an assessment for support. If the person you care for already has a Home Care Package, it may be best to contact their case manager or care coordinator in the first instance to discuss accessing aids or equipment to support their independence.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) - 1800 800 110 (Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 8.00pm)

Access to life-long supports and services for eligible people with disability.

If you care for someone with disability, they may be able to access funding for aids and equipment through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). If the person that you care for is already accessing support through the NDIS you can learn more about accessing aids and equipment or Assistive Technology here.

Carer Gateway - 1800 422 737 (Monday to Friday)

Access to supports and services for carers. Some forms of equipment may be available with a Carer Gateway Carer Directed Support Package.

Enable NSW - 1800 362 253 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm)

If the person you care for is not eligible for support from the NDIS or My Aged Care, or they are waiting for the Home Care Package at the level that they have been assessed for (even if they are receiving a Home Care Package at a lower level than they were assessed as eligible for), they may be able to access some of the funding for some equipment through Enable NSW.

Assistive Technology Australia (formerly known as Independent Living Centre NSW) - 1300 885 886 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 4.00pm)

Information and advice about a wide range of aids or equipment that may be available to support the person that you care for.

Hearing Australia - 134 432 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.00pm)

Hearing services for children and young people up to the age of 26 and eligible adults including Pensioner Concession Card holders and Aboriginal people aged over 50.

National Continence Helpline - 1800 330 066 (Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 8.00pm)

The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) is an Australian Government Scheme that provides a payment to assist eligible people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs of their incontinence products. For more information contact the National Continence Helpline on 1800 330 066 or visit www.bladderbowel.gov.au.