Step by Step Guide
Step by step guide to Admission
There are five steps to follow when you think you or your family member needs to move into a residential aged care facility.
1 Step 1 - Assessing your eligibility
It is the ACAT that decides whether a person is eligible for entry into an aged care facility, whether they are high or low care and whether they are eligible for permanent and or respite care. Without an approval from an ACAT, entry into a facility is not possible.
2 Step 2 -Selecting a suitable home
Commonwealth Carelink Centres can provide you with information about the aged care homes in your area and the types of services they offer. ACATS, family, friends, your local doctor and social workers may also be able to help you find a suitable aged care home.
The best way to find the aged care home that suits you is to visit a range of nursing homes. They are all different, so visiting them will help you to find out what they can offer you, and what the accommodation is like.
It is a good idea to take a checklist when you visit these homes to remind you of the things that are important to you. You can use this checklist to note down the way you feel about each home that you visit. It will be a useful reference when you are making your decision. For checklist tips read our articles Choosing an Aged Care Centre and Aged Care Centre suitability checklist
3 Step 3 - Working out the cost involved
Many people find the working out the fees and charges the most daunting step. While the Australian Government helps you with the cost of your residential aged care by providing funding, it also expects those who can afford it to contribute to the cost. Aged care nursing homes may charge a number of fees and charges, however, you may not have to pay all of them.
Residents in residential aged care can be asked to make two types of payments - daily care fees and accommodation payments. Daily care fees include a basic daily care fee which all residents pay and an income tested fee which is paid by residents who have a higher income. The income tested fee is determined by the Australian Government.
Accommodation payments contribute towards the cost of your accommodation in an aged care home. You only pay this if your assets exceed an amount set by the Australian Government. The accommodation payment is agreed with your aged care home when you move in and will be either an accommodation bond if you are in low care or an extra service facility or an accommodation charge if you are in high level care.
Centrelink provides a free financial information service that may be helpful. If you are a veteran, you may also talk to the financial advisers at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. You might also like to seek the advice of an independent financial advisor. It is important to make sure they are familiar with the rules surrounding aged care.
4 Step 4 - Applying
A current ACAT approval is essential to secure a place in an aged care facility. When you have your ACAT approval form you can apply at the facility you are interested in.
The information contained in the ACAT assessment is used to help your prospective aged care home understand your particular care needs.
The ACAT form does not require you to provide any financial information. However, if you are applying for a permanent place and want to see if you can be asked to pay an accommodation bond or charge, or to see if you are eligible for an Australian Government subsidy, you will need to complete the separate “Request for an Assets Assessment” form and submit it to Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs.
5 Step 5 - Moving into the facility
Everyone’s experience of moving and settling into their new accommodation will be different. When you have been offered and have accepted a place in a residential aged care home you will be required to fill in certain paperwork. Some items may vary from facility to facility but it should include a resident agreement.
A resident agreement is a formal agreement between you and the Aged Care facility and should be offered to you before you move in. If you choose to enter into an agreement, you do not have to sign it at the time it is offered to you. However, if the resident agreement includes accommodation payments, then this agreement will need to be signed within 21 days. You may wish to take time to seek advice from friends, family, your financial adviser or a legal practitioner.
In terms of the things you need to bring with you when you move in, you will find that your aged care home will provide most of the furnishings you need. However most homes will let you bring some things with you from home. Some people like to bring their favourite chair for example. The aged care facility will also give you information about personal belongings you might like to bring with you, laundry services, meal times, activities and other important information.
Once you have moved into the facility, staff will discuss your care needs and any other needs you may have with you or your legally authorised representative. The facility staff will develop an individual care plan for you to make sure that everyone in the facility are made aware of your needs. Staff will also strive to support your specific cultural needs.