FAQs

Got questions about our service?

Find answers to the most common questions about our placement service here.

What is residential aged care?

Government funded residential aged care facilities are operated and owned by private and not-for-profit organisations that have government approval to provide care to the elderly population. It can be either permanent or respite (short term) care.

What is supported accommodation?

Supported accommodation includes bedsitters, apartments or independent units within a community where support services such as cooking, cleaning and personal care are available.

It’s similar to government-funded residential aged care, but without the care funding. These facilities are state-registered service providers.

What is independent living?

Independent living maximises independence and self-determination. It’s ideal for those who wish to live in a community instead of in an aged care facility.

Independent living units can be stand alone or attached to a residential aged care facility. Different facilities offer different services; and it’s important to note that any care services received while living in one of these units is not included in the price of the unit.

What is home care?

Home and Community Care offers a variety of basic care, maintenance and services to help older and frail individuals who want to live at home for as long as possible. Home care can be provided by government-approved providers or private operators.

To receive government-funded services, ACAT approval is required through My Aged Care.

Products and services relating to home care packages range from help with daily chores, meals, personal care, allied health, case management, respite care, gardening assistance, assistance with transport and personal grooming.

The Department of Health and Ageing (which provides federal funding to residential aged care services) also pays for Home Care Packages. There are four levels of Home Care Packages:

  • Level 1 – for basic care needs
  • Level 2 – for lower level care needs (formerly known as Community Aged Care Packages)
  • Level 3 – for intermediate care needs
  • Level 4 – for higher level care needs
When do I have to complete a Combined Assets and Income Assessment?

Generally, every person who is planning to move into residential aged care will need to complete a Combined Assets and Income Assessment. The assessment ensures that the individual is charged fees that relate to their care needs and financial means.

We recommend you receive independent aged care specialist financial planning advice before lodging your assessment with Centrelink or Department of Veteran Affairs.

Who accesses aged care?

Aged care is mainly for individuals over the age of 65 who are no longer able to cope independently at home. However, aged care eligibility is based on ‘care needs’ rather than age. You must be assessed and approved by ACAT prior to moving into residential aged care.

Individuals who wish to move into an Independent Living Unit, a Serviced Apartment or a Supported Residential Service (SRS) do not need approval, as these facilities are not funded by the government and have their own individual fees and charges.

Why do people access aged care?

There can be many reasons—dementia, frailty or disability, social isolation, high falls risk, complex medical care needs or security. Generally, the move into aged care occurs when a person is no longer able to look after themselves at home.

If you have an assessment do you have to move into aged care?

No. Your residential aged care assessment is like a passport into residential aged care. You can have an assessment, but you don’t have to use it. You choose when to move into care.

What is respite?

Respite care offers an opportunity for both the carer and the person being cared for to take a well-earned break. This might be for a few hours, a day, a night or several weeks. As its name suggests, respite relieves the stress of being a carer, or simply gives them time to catch up on cleaning and grocery shopping.

Respite care is provided by residential aged care facilities and community care services, such the Home and Community Care Program (HACC) and the National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP). It can be accessed in several different ways:

  • Residential respite – The most common form of respite is when an older person transfers into an aged care facility for a few days or weeks. An individual is eligible for 63 days of respite each financial year. Although residential aged care facilities have allocated respite places, they are not obligated to keep these exclusively for respite. Respite can be booked in advance, although in the case of emergencies, it can also be organised quite rapidly.
  • Day care respite – This is often provided at day care centres, community centres, some residential aged care homes and may be attached to some local health centres.
  • Short term respite – This can be in your own home, a day care centre or therapy centre.
What is high care and low care?

The terms ‘high’ and ‘low’ indicate the level of care a person needs. Being assessed as either ‘high’ or ‘low’ care does not affect eligibility for care; and individuals no longer need to be assessed as high or low care before moving into residential aged care, except for short term respite.

What is transitional care?

Transitional care is offered to older people after they have spent time in hospital, following an aged care assessment (which can be arranged through the hospital). It is generally available for eight weeks, with a maximum of 12 weeks.

It can be delivered in either a residential or community setting, but only for a limited time. It gives the person and their family some time to decide on their next best step. Some people go home from transitional care; others move into a residential aged care facility.

What is dementia secure aged care?

Dementia secure facilities contain a fully secure dementia care unit or wing, exclusively and especially for individuals with dementia or similar behavioural conditions. These facilities prevent wandering residents from leaving the facility, and provide a specialised level of care for people with dementia.

Note that not all individuals with dementia require dementia secure care.

How do I get an aged care assessment?

You can get an aged care assessment by contacting My Aged Care by phone 1800 200 422 or www.myagedcare.gov.au/ Anyone can refer a person for an aged care assessment, including self, family, friends, social workers, doctors and more. An independent advocate (Millennium) can assist you to navigate My Aged Care.

Who is eligible for aged care?

Generally, any individual over the age of 65 who has had an aged care assessment is eligible for government-funded residential aged care. Eligibility for approval for aged care is based on care needs, not a person’s age.

An independent advocate (Millennium) can assist you to navigate My Aged Care.

What services do aged care homes provide?

All aged care facilities need to provide specific services and care to residents, including:

  • Nursing staff to provide help 24/7, including in emergencies
  • Daily living assistance such as showering, dressing and mobility
  • Medication assistance
  • Meals and snacks, taking into account specific dietary requirements
  • Simple furnishings including carpets, curtains, chairs, beds and bed linen, bath towels, face washers, soap and toilet paper
  • Laundry services
  • Cleaning services, building maintenance and upkeep of the facility grounds
  • Lifestyle activities

For residents with higher levels of care, aged care facilities should provide continence aids, basic medical and pharmaceutical supplies, nursing services and therapy services. If a resident needs specialised dementia care, or has specific language, cultural or religious needs, this should be addressed when touring prospective homes.

Who provides the care in aged care homes?

Aged care facilities employ suitably qualified and skilled staff members to give residents the care they need. For instance, registered nurses must care for residents with high level care needs.

In addition, aged care facilities help residents get services from health practitioners such as GPs—although residents can continue to visit their previous GP if they choose to.

How are care and services monitored in aged care homes?

The Australian Government assesses care quality and services quality within government funded facilities. These facilities need to meet compulsory accreditation standards and show continuous improvement in terms of the quality of care and services provided to residents within the facility.

The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency evaluates facilities for accreditation, and spot checks facilities to guarantee their compliance. You can request accreditation from any aged care facility at any time.

Do I have to pay for residential aged care?

While the Australian Government provides funding to residential aged care facilities to help with the cost of care, it’s likely that you will be charged some fees.

The types of charges and fees are set by the Government, and fall into two categories:
daily care fees; and
accommodation payments RAD or daily accommodation payment DAP or combination of both.
Means tested care contribution fee
Additional service fee

What if I can’t afford to pay?

The Australian Government helps individuals who have genuine difficulty in paying their fees and charges for aged care. Fees and charges may be waived or reduced—with the Government paying the facility directly. This way, the individual receives the same standard of care as all other residents, regardless of their financial capacity.

What help is available for veterans and war widow(er)s?

Veterans and war widow(er)s qualify for the same kind of residential aged care as all other Australians. They also have access to the Veterans’ Affairs Network, which provides other assistance. For more information, call 1300 551 918.

What aged care support is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?

All facilities must provide culturally appropriate care for all residents. There are a number of facilities specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals. In addition, there are flexible aged care services, commonly in remote areas.

Do aged care homes provide care for specific cultural or linguistic groups?

In order to improve quality of life and care for older individuals from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, the Australian Government funds a range of facilities managed by ethnic community organisations. The Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care program permits facilities and ethnic communities to work collectively in order to create and uphold links between residents in facilities and their social, cultural and linguistic networks.

Also, clustering brings together residents who have like-minded cultural, language or religious backgrounds within one facility. There are a number of facilities around Australia which can provide care on this basis. Other choices are multicultural services and cultural, nationality or language-specific services.

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