Steps to Enter Aged Care Home
Steps to Accessing Aged Care
1. Call My Aged Care and have an assessment.
If you have not already been assessed for care in an aged care home, including residential respite, you (or your nominated representative) need to call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. My Aged Care staff will ask you questions about your current needs and circumstances so they can refer you for an assessment. If your care needs show that you might be eligible for care in an aged care home, you will be referred for a free assessment with a member of your local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) (or Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) in Victoria). Your local ACAT member (usually a nurse, social worker, or other health care professional) will make a time to come to your home and talk to you about your current situation and assess you for government funded aged care services. You may feel worried about being assessed by someone you don’t know and what the assessment may mean for you. The assessor is trained to talk to people in your situation and will understand how you are feeling. Tell them honestly about your situation and any concerns you or your family may have. You are encouraged to have someone else such as a friend, family member or carer with you for your assessment. If you have concerns about your assessment, try talking to your ACAT assessor or manager in the first instance. If you do not know the ACAT organisation’s details, the My Aged Care contact centre can give you this information.
2. Work out the costs.
The Australian Government subsidises aged care homes to keep costs reasonable and affordable. Subsidies based on your care needs are paid directly to the home. On average, the Australian Government contributes about $65,600 yearly for each permanent aged care home resident. This amount increases each year. If you are eligible, you are expected to contribute to the cost.
3. Find an Aged Care Home.
When deciding on an aged care home, it is important to find out if the home has the care and services you need, now and into the future. The best way to find a place that suits you is to visit a few different homes to check: • what the accommodation is like • what types of care, services, and activities they offer • how they can best meet your individual needs • the fees you may need to pay for care and services • accommodation prices • any additional services they offer.
4. Apply to an Aged Care Home and accept an offer.
As you find aged care homes that meet your needs, you can start applying for a place. You can apply to as many homes as you like. It is a good idea to apply to several homes as your preferred home may not have a place available when you are looking. When a place becomes available, the aged care home will contact you or your nominated contact person. Fill in an application form All aged care homes have their own application process and may ask you to fill in a form. Talk to the homes you are interested in and find out what process they have and what information they need. You will need to give the unique referral code you received from your ACAT to your chosen provider/s. This will allow them to view your client record and consider your care needs to help you enter an aged care home. Accept an offer When a place becomes available, the aged care home will contact you or your nominated contact person. Once you have accepted an offer of a place in an aged care home, the home will offer you formal agreements that cover things like services, accommodation costs, and your rights and responsibilities as a consumer of Australian Government funded aged care services.
5. Enter into agreements with your Aged Care Home.
After accepting a place and before moving in, your aged care home must offer you a resident agreement. You will also be offered an accommodation agreement with the home before you enter care, and it may be included as part of your resident agreement or it may be a separate document. The resident agreement and accommodation agreement are legally binding documents between you and your aged care home. They set out: • the care and services available • what fees and accommodation costs you will have to pay • how fees and accommodation costs can be paid • your rights and responsibilities. It’s important that you understand everything in these agreements before you agree to them. If you have any questions, you should ask your new aged care home. It is their responsibility to make sure the agreements offered to you are clear. The proposed agreements may not include all the things that you think are important, so it is a good idea to check before you agree. You can also ask: • your provider for extra information, such as the home’s meal and visitor policy, and other details about living in the home • your family, friends, carer, financial advisor or a legal professional to help you understand the terms of your agreements.
6. Manage your care and services.
Visiting your doctor, dentist or specialist You can keep your own doctor, dentist or specialist. Your aged care home must help you make appointments and access doctors or specialists of your choice if needed. You do not have to pay the home for arranging these appointments. You will, however, generally need to pay the consultation fee. Your aged care home can also help you arrange transport to and from your medical appointments. You may have to pay for the transport and for a staff member to accompany you. Social activities Your aged care home will organise social and other activities. Let them know about your hobbies and interests so they can help you continue with them while you are in the home. They might also be able to suggest other things to try. Community visitors If you are feeling alone and don’t have regular contact with family or friends, the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) can provide opportunities for social contact. If you would like a community visitor, you can let your aged care home know. Your family and friends can also let the home know if they think you would benefit from the CVS. Your aged care home may also approach the CVS directly.