Become an Aged Care Support Volunteer

The Re-engaging Volunteers into Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) Program has been established nationwide to provide non-clinical social and emotional support to older people living in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs).

About the program

Emotional support and companionship is so important for senior Australians, particularly following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recognition of this, and to address the decline in volunteers during this time, the Australian Government is encouraging the return of volunteers and encouraging new volunteers to residential aged care facilities (RACFs).

Volunteers have long been an essential part of the aged care system. The program seeks to complement, not replicate, or replace, or fill shifts of the paid workforce. Volunteers will provide valuable assistance, companionship, and support to residents, essential to the wellbeing of older people.  

As part of the national volunteer recruitment strategy, Victoria’s program will be facilitated through Volunteering Victoria’s weVolunteer platform.

About the role

The program matches volunteers with nominating RACFs. The volunteers will provide non-clinical social support to residents including companionship, emotional support and support with physical activity.

Volunteers may assist with:

  • leisure activities (e.g. reading, music)
  • access to and supervision in outdoor spaces or the community
  • physical activity and exercise
  • companionship, conversation and social engagement
  • mobilising support in aid of above activities
  • culturally specific and individually appropriate support to enhance residents’ wellbeing
  • administration support such as answering phones, internal message running, restocking personal protective equipment (PPE)

Note: Volunteers will not be expected to provide showering, dressing, medication management, wound dressing, continence management, technical, high risk or complex transfer of residents, documenting provision of care, nor would you be in contact with isolated residents due to infection or illness. 

Volunteers will complete online training in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control, as well as training to prepare you for working in an aged care facility setting.

How can you help?

Your time and dedication to this role will reduce the social isolation and loneliness that many residents may be experiencing as a result of COVID-19. The impact your contribution will make to the lives of aged care residents and the RACF workforce is immeasurable. You can make a real difference.

Regular visits from volunteers can help improve quality of life and reduce isolation, such as:

  • Improve self-esteem and wellbeing
  • Diminish feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Maintain and increase independence and sense of belonging
  • Reduce feeling of loneliness and isolation
  • Maintain good emotional and physical health
  • Increase longevity and increase sense of purpose
  • Develop social connections

Volunteer commitment

Prior to commencement as a volunteer, you will be required to:

  • Be 18+ years of age and a resident of Victoria, Australia
  • Complete a National Police Check
  • Complete all required online training
  • Provide evidence of up-to-date COVID-19 vaccinations

Volunteering Victoria will provide support through this screening process and will fund all necessary requirements. It is expected that volunteers will be committed to the role for approximately 3-6 months.

Note: Volunteers are required to meet the COVID vaccination requirements in accordance with Victoria Health directives for aged care support services workers.

Help bring the joy of friendship and companionship to older Australians.

Register here

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I choose the facility where I volunteer?

Upon completion of the National Police Check, vaccination and trainings, Volunteering Victoria will email you opportunities to volunteer with RACFs in your area once RACFs have advised they are ready to accept volunteers.

Depending on your area, there may be multiple RACFs requesting support for you to choose from.

What hours will I have to volunteer?

Individual RACFs will specify their requirement and you can decide for yourself if you can facilitate those requirements when you are invited to apply for a role. We are seeking volunteers who can provide an ongoing commitment for a 3-6 month period.

How long will volunteers be required in the role?

It is expected that volunteers will be able to commit to the role for a 3-6 month period.

What is not within the scope of volunteers?

Volunteers are not paid employees of the Department of Health or the RACF, and their work does not replace or replicate that of paid workers.

Volunteer roles will not include:

  • Nursing care (including infection; medication and continence management)
  • Transferring residents
  • Direct care for infected or isolated residents
  • Documenting provision of care

What training will I have to undertake?

Volunteers will be required to complete 12 online modules through Altura Learning, a leading provider of online training in the aged care sector. The FREE course will provide you with an introduction and overview of the aged care sector and prepare you to support residents living in residential aged care.

Volunteers will be interacting with residents who are living with multiple, complex health conditions, including dementia. This training program will equip you with the knowledge you need to be able to volunteer safely and support the wellbeing of the residents you meet. This training will also be useful for those seeking to move into other volunteer roles with older people in the future.

Each module is estimated to take 30 minutes to complete, and does not need to be completed in one sitting. At the completion of all 12 modules you will receive a Certificate of Completion for your records, which can also be uploaded to your Volunteer Passport.

All modules need to be completed before you can commence at a residential aged care facility.

Do I need COVID-19 vaccinations to volunteer?

Yes, it is mandatory for residential aged care workers across Australia to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In Victoria, this includes the booster shot.

I do not have a National Police Check. Can I still apply to volunteer?

Yes. Volunteering Victoria will support you in obtaining a National Police Check and will cover any associated costs.

What additional support is available to volunteers?

Should it be required, all volunteers will have access to free counselling services through the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement. This support is offered to those living, working and caring in the aged care sector, who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Who do I contact if I have any concerns about my placement?

Please always discuss any concerns you have regarding your volunteering with the Volunteer Coordinator based at the RACF.   

Alternatively, you can speak with a member of the project team within Volunteering Victoria, and they can provide you with information to support your enquiry. 

I work in residential aged care. How can I nominate my facility for support?

If you would like to apply for volunteer support at your residential aged care facility, you can nominate via the Australian Government Department of Health website.

The Re-engaging Volunteers into Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) Program is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health and is proudly supported by Volunteering Victoria.