Application Process

Application Process

Understanding the process of moving into residential aged care

Deciding to move into an aged care facility can be a difficult decision, particularly if it comes at a time when you’re feeling unwell or are in hospital. Discussing your preferences with your family and friends can help you consider all of your options and make the best choice.

Download printer-friendly application process

1. Register with My Aged Care
Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to register your details and begin the assessment process
2. ACAT Assessment
My Aged Care will refer you to the Australian Government’s Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) who will arrange a time for an assessment in your home or in hospital
3. Assets and Income Assessment
Submit your Combined Assets and Income Assessment Form (SA 457) to the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services or Department of Veterans’ Affairs
4. Find a facility
Find your nearest aged care facility by using our facility locator or by viewing all our facilities
5. Choose a room
On the facility’s page, view the available rooms and maximum room prices
6. Take a tour
Book a tour at your chosen facility to get a feel for the amenities and culture
7. Apply
Download and fill out the application forms and return them to the facility, or request a copy to be posted to you
8. Review your client agreement
You’ll receive your client agreement to read before your admission in the pre-admission pack. Bring your signed copy along with you on your first day at the facility
9. Move in
You’ll receive a pack with all of the details of your transition including what to bring

My Aged Care & ACAT assessment

Once you have decided that you would like to move into an aged care home (for permanent care or residential respite), you will need to register with My Aged Care and be assessed by the Australian Government’s Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).

ACAT will:

  • Ask you questions about your day-to-day living activities and if you need help with them
  • Talk to you about your general state of health and specific health conditions. This will help them work out what type of help you need, and how much
  • Get an understanding of whether you need more support so you can keep living in your own home, or if they think you might be better supported in an aged care home
  • Give you information about aged care homes in your area
  • Provide information about residential respite if it’s relevant to your needs
  • Answer any questions you have about different types of aged care homes

After your assessment, you will receive a letter with the outcome of your assessment, including the services you are approved to receive and the reasons why.

If you are unhappy with the result, you can ask ACAT to review their decision. The letter will include instructions on how to do this.

ACAT assessments are free, and are available all over Australia. Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to register find your local ACAT.

Asset & income assessment

If you are interested in permanent care, you will need to complete a Combined Assets and Income Assessment Form (SA 457) from the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services to apply for subsidised services.

You will need to submit this form to the Department of Human Services, or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) if you receive an income support payment from DVA.

The government will use the information you provide to determine how much you will need to contribute to the cost of your aged care services. You’ll never be denied care because you can’t afford it, and the government sets maximum amounts on what aged care providers can charge.

Your assessment will be valid for 120 days, unless your circumstances change – such as selling your home or a change in your marital status.

Choosing aged care providers

Once you have received your letter of approval from ACAT, you can start to look for an aged care home that you would like to move into. Just as you would when buying or renting a house, you can view facilities and get a feel for the atmosphere, rooms, and services by taking a tour.

It’s a good idea to take your ACAT letter with you so the aged care provider can understand the services you will need. They will be able to tell you whether they have any vacancies or how many people are on the waiting list.

Single rooms are the most popular and sometimes have longer waiting lists than shared rooms. If you need to move in urgently, it’s sometimes possible for you to take a shared room and move into a single room when one becomes available.

Some questions that you might like to ask on your tour include:

  • What rooms do you have available and what are the waiting times? Is it possible to move into a shared room and move to a single room when one becomes available?
  • Can I see your activities calendar?
  • When can I receive visitors? Can they stay overnight if needed?
  • What training do care staff have?
  • Can you meet any special needs that I have? (eg. religious observances or complex nursing needs)
  • What are the meal arrangements? Can I see a sample menu?
  • How many staff provide care overnight?
  • What transport can I access to visit local shops?
  • What other services do you have available, such as physiotherapists? Are there any additional charges for these services?

The cost of your room and care will depend on the room that you choose, as well as the result of your assets and income assessment. Read more about fees and charges for residential aged care.

Applying to aged care providers

When you have a short list of aged care facilities that you would like to move into, you can start applying to them.

Every aged care provider has its own application process, but they will be very similar. You will be asked to provide your personal details, care needs, medical details, and financial information, usually by filling out a form.

Once you have submitted your form, the aged care home will review your application and ensure they are able to provide the care you need. You will be contacted once the room you have chosen becomes available and you can make plans to move in.

Your care provider will send you a pre-admission pack with your client agreement, items to bring, and forms to fill in before your first day. Read more about what to expect when moving into an aged care facility.

Further reading

You can read more about the aged care process in the Australian Government's booklet Five Steps to Entry into an Aged Care Home.


Next steps:

Call us 1800 692 273 Enquire online


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