Aged Care FAQs
Before you start looking for care, the person who will be cared for needs to have their needs assessed. This assessment is referred to as an ACAT assessment, and the majority of aged care residences won’t consider you a place in their facility until you have one.
You can gain a referral for an ACAT assessment through a GP, nurse or social worker. Or you can use the ACAT Finder and search for assessment teams in your area directly.
You will need an ACAT assessment (see the previous FAQ) to determine your eligibility for residential aged care. Once you have this assessment and your care needs have been confirmed, you are eligible for a place in an aged care residence.
‘High Care’ residents in an aged care facility need help 24 hours a day to perform most daily living tasks. High Care was formerly known as ‘Aged Care homes’ and high care residents are required to be provided with additional services. These services include aids for mobility, toilet and incontinence management assistance and more basic toiletries.
‘Low care’ residential aged care facilities (formerly known as hostels) means that the person does need some help to remain independent, but does not have complex and ongoing health care needs.
Respite Care is when an elderly person is placed in an aged care facility on a short term basis.
A respite bed may be used for a few days, a weekend or a few weeks but it is not a permanent bed.
Respite Care is ideal for when family and friends need a short break from caring for their loved one, or when an elderly person has left hospital and is not quite ready to return home yet a respite bed for a few weeks can be organised.
Dementia Specific Care
When a residential aged care facility has a dementia specific unit, which means they have a part of their facility which is specifically dedicated to those who suffer from dementia.
If your loved one is suffering from dementia, it is a good idea to ask the facilities whether they have a dementia specific unit or offer dementia specific care.
There can be a waiting list depending on the facility, the staff at each facility will let you know the approximate time you are likely to be on the waiting list before a place is open.
After you have an ACAT assessment and have found some residences which you would like apply for place, ask the staff at that facility to provide you with all of the relevant paperwork and forms required for a place.
If you find the paperwork and forms confusing, do not hesitate to ask the staff at the residence to answer all of your questions.
The amount of time spent on each waiting list will vary between each residence, so it is important to ask staff if they have an estimated
If your situation is not urgent, you will be contacted as soon as place is available. However if you are in an urgent situation and need to placed in aged care quickly, please let the staff know.
The majority of facilities have many private rooms available and at ACSAG we strive to provide a private room for our residents if that is their preference. If there are no private rooms available when you apply, we will let you know about our shared room options and any waiting lists which you may be able to be placed on for a private room (note: check).
We have shared and double rooms because we occasionally have couples who enter our residence and wish to stay together, or have residents who would prefer to share a room for company.
Many facilities have shared and double rooms available for couples. If this is your preference ask the staff at the residence whether there are any double or share rooms available.
We understand that placing a loved one in aged care is never an easy decision, however if your loved one has reached a point where they need 24 hour professional care, then you are doing the best thing for them.
We offer continual support for the family and friends of the resident, who may be struggling at this time with their decision. We have a dynamic resident/relative committee which you are welcome to be a part of.
Before you apply for place at a residence, mention your loved ones level of English to the staff. The staff at the residence may have bi-lingual staff employed or be trained in caring for residents with a low level of English.
Take your loved one to the residences you are considering and see how the staff are able to interact with him/her, even if there is a language barrier.
If you are concerned that your loved ones care needs may change over time, for example they may enter a residence as a low care resident, but may eventually need high care service, then ask the staff about ageing in place.
Ageing in place means that if a resident’s care needs change, they are able to have their care needs adjusted and will not need to move to another aged care residence.
For example, if a resident initially enters as a low care resident, if they need high care services in a few years time, they will be given top priority to a high care bed in the facility.
In Australia the Government often subsidises the cost of aged care, and there are maximum amounts which can be charged. The cost of aged care often depends on your current income, your assets and pension rates.
Each residence should clearly explain the fees for a place and you should fully understand them before signing any documents.
If you need further financial advice, it is advisable to speak to a financial planner who specialises in aged care.