The impact of COVID-19 on the residential aged care community has been significant. Due to social distancing restrictions and uncertainty, many residents may feel isolated, lonely, worried about the future, anxious, depressed or stressed. 

You can receive this service if you are an aged care resident. You can also receive this service if you are a family member, friend or aged care staff who would like support in caring for a resident. 

About our telehealth service

The Swinburne Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults has been operating for more than 10 years as a not-for-profit counselling and support service for the residential aged care community.

Our counsellors are provisionally registered psychologists, social work interns and counselling postgraduates, who are supervised by experienced practitioners. They are ready to support you through the next few months by phone or video calls.

Complete our referral form to request this service

The Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults would like to thank The Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, Arcare Family Foundation, The Aged Persons Welfare Foundation and The Barbara Dicker Brain Science Foundation for supporting the telehealth counselling and support service.

National Telehealth Counselling and Support Service
View video transcript [102KB]

Frequently asked questions

This service provides phone- or video-based counselling and support to aged care residents, their families and aged care staff. Our counsellors are available to provide you emotional support, listen attentively to the issues you are facing and assist you address problems, worries or stress. Our counsellors can contact you regularly to support you over the next few months.

This service is open during business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). We are not designed to attend to emergencies. In such circumstances, you can call services such as Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

We are also not able to address complaints about aged care policies, residential facility rules or government restrictions. These are best directed to services specifically designed to deal with these issues.

The service is open to anyone living in an Australian residential aged care facility. The service is also open to family members, relatives, friends or staff in caring for aged care residents.

As a resident, you may like support dealing with isolation, low mood, worries or anxiety. As a family member, relative or friend of an aged care resident, you might like support dealing with your own questions, worries, anxieties or stress about the resident or how best to support the resident.

If you are a staff member working in aged care, you might also like to speak to our counsellors about what you are going through in your work role. We are aware that we are all living under very complex circumstances and we would like to support you through this difficult period.

Our counsellors can provide you with ongoing support over the next few months. You can refer yourself or others to the service. There is no cost to you to use this service and we do not need a referral from a GP or health care professional.

If you feel you may benefit from ongoing phone- or video-based support, simply complete the referral form and we will organise a counsellor to contact you.

Even if you are unsure if this is the right service for you, you can register your interest and we can call you to discuss how we can support you.

As a family member or residential aged care staff member, you can also refer your older family member, relative, friend or your resident to the service. When referring someone else, they need to consent for us to contact them. To request our service for yourself of another person, complete our referral form.

When we receive a referral, we will contact you to confirm that we have received it and may ask you questions to determine how we can best assist you or the person you have referred.

If you have referred someone else, we will first contact you to learn more about the person’s circumstances and ensure they have consented to being contacted. We will then contact the person whom you have referred to us.

Our counsellors are ready to support you through the next few months by phone or video calls. Our counsellors are provisionally registered psychologists, social work interns and postgraduate counselling students, who are under supervision of experienced practitioners.

You do not need sophisticated technology to access our services. If you have a landline phone or a mobile phone, we can have sessions by phone.

Alternatively, if you would like to have video calls where you and the counsellor can see each other, you will need to have a smart phone, tablet (e.g. iPad) or computer (desktop or laptop equipped with a video camera, microphone and speakers).

If you are a resident of a facility, please speak to facility staff to see if they can help organise such equipment. We can also speak with staff or your family to help organise the right equipment.

We are aware that many of the issues that will be discussed in counselling and support sessions are highly private. We maintain strict levels of confidentiality in accordance with our professional accreditation standards. What you tell the counsellor will remain private between yourself, the counsellor and their supervisor. In group supervision, your name will not be disclosed.

If you are in danger of harming yourself or others, we must take steps to minimise harm, and hence we may need to disclose your identity to keep you or others safe.

If you are living in a residential aged care facility, we may also need to discuss your circumstances with facility staff if it is believed that it would be in your best interest. However, we will always ask for your consent before we share information about you with staff.

In terms of privacy of sessions by phone and video calls, we will use technology that allows conversations to be private. We are aware that some programs may have tighter security than others and we will discuss with you the best options.

Did you know?

The Swinburne Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults also provides face-to-face counselling for aged care residents in Melbourne.

The clinic also offers group programs such as reminiscence groups, men's groups, carer support groups and autobiographical life-writing groups.

How can I join the team?

As we expand our service, we may need counsellors and clinical supervisors. If you would like to join our team as a clinical supervisor, please complete our contact form.

If you are interested in joining our team as a counsellor, please refer to the placement information and complete the application form.

Get in contact

If you would like to know more about our services or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us on +61 3 9214 3371, email us at or complete our contact form.

Contact us