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