Community health services continue to make an impact through HRAR

June 3, 2021

The Victorian Budget 2021-22 extended funding to Lead Providers for the High Risk Accommodation Response (HRAR) Program until the end of December 2021. Similarly, the VHA has received an extension of its funding to enable continuation of the Community of Practice meetings and supports it offers to Lead Providers.

The HRAR Program is a key example of the high-impact initiatives Victoria’s community health services continue to contribute to the state’s COVID-19 response. More than 30 of our community health services are HRAR Lead Providers, delivering place-based outreach health and social care to people living in settings associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission. These settings include (but are not limited to) publicly and privately owned high rise accommodation, rooming houses, backpacker hostels, supported residential services, student accommodation and caravan parks. All typically have facilities shared by residents.

HRAR Lead Providers:

  • identify and risk-rate facilities
  • provide COVID-19 prevention and preparedness advice and resources to residents and proprietors
  • lay the foundations for any future required outbreak response

More recently, HRAR Lead Providers have also started to provide vaccine information and access support to residents.

Their work is undertaken in partnership with local health and social services, community leaders, the Department of Health and Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, and (where indicated) Victoria Police. HRAR Lead Provider’s existing relationships with their communities have been an enormous asset to their delivery of the initiative, which reaches out to often vulnerable people and communities. These relationships have particularly enabled meaningful engagement with many Aboriginal and CALD communities.

Importantly, the community health service-led HRAR Program has been a powerful demonstration of the ability of community health services to provide integrated health and social care beyond COVID-19.  There is an opportunity to extend the approach to the ongoing management of acute and chronic disease, as well as mental health, well beyond the pandemic.