What you need to know
- Aged care homes are for older people who have care needs that cannot be met at home.
- If you are in hospital your treating team will provide advice and will arrange an assessment if needed.
- If you are living at home, My Aged Care provides advice and assistance.
About aged care homes
Aged care homes are for older people who have care needs that cannot be met at home. They provide 24-hour care including nursing services. General practitioners visit regularly.
These homes are monitored, approved and funded by the Australian Government. Only an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) can approve you for an aged care home.
My Aged Care is a government service that provides advice on all aspects of aged care. My Aged Care can estimate the fees and charges you will have to pay. Before you call them get your financial information ready, especially details of your income and assets.
Accessing aged care homes from hospital
If you are in hospital, your treating team will let you know if an aged care home may be the best option for you. The treating team will often hold a family meeting to discuss this. If everyone agrees, the hospital will arrange the ACAT assessment. The hospital social worker will provide advice and support throughout the process.
Sometimes there are different opinions about whether an aged care home is the best option. Your social worker will help resolve these differences and ensure you have a safe discharge from hospital. The hospital’s patient advocate can provide you with advice and support.
Accessing aged care homes from home
My Aged Care can refer you to the ACAT for an assessment. Their booklet Five steps to entry into an aged care home explains the process well.
Respite care is a short-term stay in an aged care home. Respite can be planned or arranged in an emergency if needed. If you are a carer, planning regular respite can help. Respite care still needs approval from the ACAT.
Therapy in aged care homes
Allied health professionals, including speech pathologists and physiotherapists, visit aged care homes but the focus is on making sure the person is safe and comfortable rather than on providing therapy.
Talk to your doctor about Medicare-subsidised allied health sessions through a Chronic Disease Management Plan.
Private allied health professionals such as physiotherapists can also be engaged for a fee.
Aged care homes are not designed for younger people and are definitely a last resort. If you are in hospital the treating team will investigate all available options before considering aged care. If you are under 65 and living at home and you want information about your options, the National Disability Insurance Scheme can provide advice.
Finding a good aged care home
When you are looking for an aged care home, ask family and friends for recommendations.
Look for a location that is easy for family members to come and see you and take the time to visit it yourself. Before visiting, you can check the accreditation status of any aged care home with the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.
Consider the physical surroundings of the facility, as these will have a big impact on the person living there and their visitors. However keep in mind many aged care homes with older but well-maintained buildings offer high-quality care. Consider how you are treated during your visit, what meal choices and recreational activities are offered and how staff interact with residents.
Let the hospital social worker know if you need help visiting or choosing an aged care home. If you are living at home, speak to the ACAT. There are also private placement consultants who can help you find an aged care home for a fee.
If you are in an aged care home and think you may now be well enough to return home, contact My Aged Care.
The health professionals at StrokeLine provide information, advice, support and referral. StrokeLine’s practical and confidential advice will help you manage your health better and live well.
Call 1800 STROKE (1800 787 653)
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My Aged Care
1800 200 422 www.myagedcare.gov.au
Australian Aged Care Quality Agency
1800 288 025 www.aacqa.gov.au
National Disability Insurance Scheme
1800 800 110 www.ndis.gov.au
Compare different homes using our Aged care home checklist (52 KB)
For more information visit the EnableMe resource topic on Moving into residential care.