Ventilator Accommodation Support Service
Our Ventilator Accommodation Support Service (VASS) is a state-wide service that provides accommodation and high-level 24-hour support for people who are chronically dependent on mechanical ventilation.
Located in Thornbury, VASS features four purpose built houses, offering both long-term accommodation and planned, regular respite.
Our trained staff can support you to live independently in the community while also assisting with the management of your complex health needs. A registered nurse is available on site at all times.
As in any home, you want to feel comfortable, be surrounded by personal possessions and determine the rhythm of your daily life. We can work with you to ensure that you have the maximum level of control over what happens in the house. VASS also has an active Steering Committee, chaired by the Australian Ventilator Users Network, who work with us to ensure the support is delivered according to your wishes and needs.
VASS offers regular planned respite, giving both you and your family a break from the demands of constant support. Emergency or unplanned respite is also available under certain circumstances.
To be eligible to use supports offered at VASS you must be:
- Registered on the Department of Human Services’ Disability Support Register (DSR).
- Over 18 years of age
- Chronically ventilator dependent. This is defined as “a person requiring intermittent or continuous ventilator support by mask, tracheotomy, or negative pressure device”.
- Have a diagnosis of MND and be prescribed ventilation as part of the management of your condition (a ventilator must be provided and form part of your emergency plan).
- Have a permanent tracheotomy and require invasive suctioning AND accommodation and/or respite services are not available to you other than in a hospital or nursing home.
If your primary diagnosis is obstructive sleep apnoea using CPAP then you are not eligible for this service.
The costs of long-term accommodation and residential respite at VASS are linked to the Disability Support Pension. Please contact us to discuss the current charges. (hyperlink to contact detail)
VASS also offers respite for people who are compensable under existing schemes such as TAC or Workcover. For details of this service, access criteria and fees, please contact the service manager.
Length of stay
Frequency and length of respite stays are negotiated according to individual need. Some people come every month and stay a few days, others come quarterly and stay for a week or two. Please note that accessing respite for more that 63 days a year may affect any other entitlements that you receive.
Anyone living at VASS, whether it is for respite or long-term accommodation, is encouraged to treat it as their home and they decide (in conjunction with the people with whom they share the house) who visits and when. The houses are surrounded by gardens and a large BBQ area, which provide the perfect setting to accommodate visitors.