The search for an appropriate aged care centre can be a difficult and confusing time. Often it is a rush to secure an available place, and there is a lot of information to take in all at once. We have provided this guide to help you through the process of admission, so that you can settle in with as much ease as possible, and get on with enjoying life.
A Step by Step guide to admission
- ACAT and the National Screening and Assessment Form
- Financial Advice
- Income and Assets Assessment
- Choosing a home
- Which home is right for me?
- Payment of fees
- Choosing a GP
- Welcome - Orientation
STEP ONE - ACAT and the National Screening and Assessment Form (NSAF)
If you wish to arrange an Aged Care Assessment, you will need to call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or visit myagedcare.gov.au.
The contact centre at My Aged Care will then arrange for the Aged Care Assessment Team to complete (with you at home or if you are in hospital, in liason with a social worker) an assessment.
The assessment will cover items such as general health and existing medical conditions, personal preferences, your environment and lifestyle and your day-to-day live requirements.
Offer as much information as possible, as this will assist in finding you a home that will suit you the best.
They may also talk to your doctor about your medical history, but only if you agree.
At the end of the assessment and after your details have been processed you will receive a ‘referral code’ which gives you access to your assessment online. If you are not able to view it online an assessment can be sent to you.
This assessment tells you what type of services you’re eligible and approved for, as well as providing a ‘support plan’ which gives you detailed information about the level of care and support you may need. At this point you will be advised of suitable services in your local area.
It’s a good idea to keep a copy of the assessment and any approval that has been granted for you to access services. If you’re not approved for aged care services you’ll get a letter explaining how to appeal the recommendations.
STEP TWO - Financial Advice
There are a range of financial matters which you should consider before entering residential aged care. An aged care specialist may be able to offer you advice and assist you in making important financial decisions.
Please note that SummitCare does not recommend any specific financial expert. The decision on who to choose is up to the individual, and we do recommend researching the options available.
STEP THREE – Income and Assets Assessment (Your financial specialist will be able to advise you)
If you are moving into an aged care home for the first time you will need to have your income and assets assessed by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs if you want to receive government assistance with care and accommodation costs. This assessment will be used to determine the costs you could be asked to pay and the amount of government assistance you will receive for your aged care costs and accommodation costs.
If you currently receive a means-tested income support payment from the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (such as the Age Pension or the Service Pension) you will only need to fill out some sections of the form.
The Department of Human Services or Department of Veterans’ Affairs will conduct your income and assets assessment. The Department of Human Services will advise you and the aged care home of the fees
payable for your circumstances.
If your income and assets assessment is not completed, you will not be eligible for any Australian Government assistance towards your aged care home costs. This means you may be asked to pay the full cost of your care and the maximum accommodation payment you agreed with the provider.
Who performs my income and assets assessment?
The Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will assess your income and assets for aged care purposes. From there the assessment is used by the Department of Human Services to determine your fees.
How do I provide my information for assessment?
You will need to fill out a form called the Permanent Residential Aged Care – Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment (SA457).
You should return the form to the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as per the instructions on the form. You do not need to seek separate fee advice for each service you wish to be waitlisted for.
STEP FOUR - Choosing a home
The best way to find a place that suits you is to visit a few different homes. Each home is different, so visiting them will help you to find out what you can expect. You’ll also be able to see what the accommodation is like, and what types of care, services and activities they offer. The staff at the centres will show you through, explaining the fees and answering any questions you have.
You can use the My Aged Care Aged Care Homes Finder at myagedcare.gov.au to look for homes in the area you would like to live and contact them to arrange a time to visit. You can also access this information by calling 1800 200 422 if you do not have access to the internet.
My Aged Care has a booklet that may also assist you with this process.
STEP FIVE – Which home is right for me?
When you go shopping you may make a list so you don’t forget what you need. When you visit homes it’s a good idea to do the same so you don’t leave with unanswered questions. See below for a few questions you may want to think about and ask:
- If you need help with everyday tasks such as dressing, using the toilet, bathing or moving around, are there staff available all the time to assist?
- What training do the care staff have (are there Registered Nurses (RN), Enrolled Nurses (EN) or trained carers employed)?
- How many staff provide care overnight?
- What arrangements are there to ensure privacy for residents?
- What are the meal arrangements - seating, meal times, menus, visitors, meals in your room and special diets?
- Can the home meet your particular needs (including language and culture, religious observances, visiting pets and access to medical visits)?
- How are social and cultural activities decided?
- Are residents’ interests taken into account?
- How can family and friends be involved in care?
- Can family stay overnight if needed?
- What transport can you access for visiting shops, friends and family?
- Can the home meet your medical needs such as assistance with medication, wound or catheter care?
- Are there other services such as podiatry (foot care), physiotherapy (exercise, mobility, strength and balance) or speech therapy (communicating, swallowing or eating) available?
- Are there any additional services available? And what are the costs?
As you visit each home, you may also want to make some notes about what you like, what you don’t like and whether you feel comfortable there. Your impressions of the staff and the environment will help you to make a decision about which home is right for you. We have found that the people and the community are the main contributors to a good transition into care and a sense of wellbeing.
STEP SIX - Admission
When you have been accepted at the home you will receive paperwork that needs to be completed including such items as a resident agreement and an admission and payment application form. Other items such as a profile and advance care directive may be required. This paperwork is important and will assist the staff in getting to know you or your family members and make the transition easier.
Power of Attorney information
You will be asked for copies of Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship paperwork so that the appropriate people concerned with decision making on your behalf are known to the centre (if appropriate).
STEP SEVEN - Payment of Fees
The Australian Government pays for the bulk of aged care in Australia. But, as with all aged care services, it is expected you will contribute to the cost of your care if you can afford to do so.
The Australian Government sets strict rules about how much you can be asked to pay and providers, as part of the Government Accreditation process, are expected to follow these rules.
You can choose to pay your accommodation costs as a lump-sum or rental-type payment - or a combination of both.
Your payment terms will be set out in a Resident Agreement between you and your aged care provider.
What types of costs are there?
You may be asked to pay one or more of the following in residential care (your aged care financial expert will be able to advise you on the payment structure):
- A basic daily fee - this covers living costs such as meals, power and laundry. For some people this is the only fee they are required to pay.
- A means-tested care fee - this is an additional contribution towards the cost of care that some people may be required to pay. The Department of Human Services (Centrelink) or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) will work out if you are required to pay this fee based on an assessment of your income and assets, and will advise you of the amount.
- An accommodation payment - this is for your accommodation in the home. Some people will have their accommodation costs met in full or part by the Australian Government, while others will need to pay the accommodation price agreed with the aged care home. Centrelink will advise you which applies to you based on an assessment of your income and assets.
- Fees for extra or additional optional services - additional fees may apply if you choose a higher standard of accommodation or additional services. These can vary from home to home.
STEP EIGHT - Choosing a GP
You will need to contact your local doctor to see if he/she will continue your care and whether the doctor will be available to travel to the centre. If they are unable to, you will be given a list of GPs to choose from.
This is important, as a medication chart needs to be available on admission to continue or review your medications.
STEP NINE - Welcome - Orientation
On arrival you will be shown around your new home again and introduced to staff and residents. With your family you will get acquainted with your room and a Registered Nurse will talk you
through any questions you may have.
It can take a while to settle into new surroundings and meet new people so give yourself a little time.