5 Steps To Entry Into Aged Care Or Residential Care

What is residential care?


Residential aged care is mainly for the older however you never know what’s lies ahead as was the case for the 63 year old I helped earlier this year who suffered a stroke and was admitted into residential care.

Generally, the elderly are admitted into residential care for a variety of reasons such as illness, disability, bereavement, an emergency, the changing needs of the carer, family or friends or because it is no longer safe or possible to manage living at home without help.


1. Are you eligible?


If you or a loved one is needing to move into aged care, an assessment with a member from the ACAT will need to assess your eligibility, discuss your current situation and help you determine what your options are.
Once completed a letter will be sent letting you know if you have been approved, what type of services you are eligible for and approved to receive, as well as the reasons why.
It’s important to remember to keep a copy of the letter, as it will be needed when lodging applications for residential care.


2. Finding an aged care home


Factors to consider when looking for a placement, do you wish to remain in the area, is family and friends nearby, and what services do you need and does the facility provide those services.

My Aged Care is a website and contact centre, through My Aged Care you can find out where placements or vacancies exist in the areas you are looking for. It will advise what services, costs and availability for each facility.

Make a list of up to 5 facilities that you feel suits you and your needs, and go visit, each home is different. Visiting them will help you find out what you can expect, particularly as costs vary from home to home. You’ll also be able to see what types of care, services and activities they offer.

Some factors to consider when selecting a home is physical, spiritual, social and emotional care needs.

The following questions are handy to know when deciding the right home:

  • Do you need help with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, using the toilet and moving around your home?
  • What training do the care staff have e.g. RN, EN, or trained carers? How many staff provide care overnight?
  • What are the meal arrangements?
  • Can the home meet your special needs, e.g. cultural, religious observances, pets and access to medical visits?
  • How can family and friends be involved in care?
  • Can the home meet your medical needs such as assistance with medication, wound or catheter care?

3. What do you need to pay?


When moving into an aged care home you may be asked to pay towards your care, accommodation and daily living costs.
How much you pay depends on your financial situation. What you will pay is set out in your Resident agreement between you and your aged care provider.

  • A basic daily fee – this covers living costs such as meals, power, laundry. For some 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, this is determined by Centrelink. They will work out if you are required to pay this fee based on an assessment of your income and assets.
  • An accommodation payment – This is for your accommodation in the home, the amount varies from home to home. Some people will have their accommodation costs met in full or part by the govt, while others will need to pay the accommodation price agreed with the aged care home.
  • Fees for extra or additional optional services – Additional fees may apply if you choose a higher standard of accommodation or additional services. These vary from home to home.

Depending on your financial circumstances a financial planner or advisor, can assist in determining how you will fund your accommodation and care fees.


4. How to apply for an aged care home?


You can apply to as many homes as you like. When a place becomes available you or your nominated contact person will be notified.

You will need to complete an application for each home you are applying for, and in most cases, you will need to provide your personal information, financial information if you wish to apply for subsided fees, as well as the ACAT assessment.


5. What is like to live in an aged care home?


Each home is different, there will be new routines, new surroundings and new people all living together under the one roof. There will be assistance with tasks if you need it, there will be daily social activities as well as special occasions. You can still vote if you want to, you won’t lose the right to control your own financial affairs and possessions.

You can see how it can be a time consuming, confusing and often stressful process to assist a loved one into aged care, which is why Retirement Care Solutions is able to offer peace of mind, guidance and support through the whole process of moving a loved one into aged care.

What Are The Types Of Care Available?

Help at Home

As you get older, living independently in your own home can become more difficult.  If you or your loved ones are finding it harder to do things you used to, help is available and you can ask for some assistance.

As you get older, living independently in your own home can become more difficult. If you’re finding it harder to do the things you used to, you can ask for some help at home.

Asking for help doesn’t mean losing your independence; it’s quite the opposite. Getting a little help with daily activities means you can stay independent in your own home for longer. In fact, a little support can lead to a much better life.

Help at home looks different for different people. It may mean getting help with shopping and cooking. Or it could be receiving personal care to bath, dress, and get in and out of bed. It may even mean getting modifications to improve your safety and movement around the house.

Family and friends may not also be around to assist so getting some help at home can enable you or your loved one to continue to live independently in the home for as long as possible.

Short-term care

Maybe you or your loved one needs some help after a hospital stay, or support if regular family care is taking a break or holiday.  Short-term can help with coping with life’s interruptions.

Short-term care provides care and support services for a set period of time. There are different types of short-term care depending on your needs, but all aim to help you with day-to-day tasks and either restore or maintain your independence.

Depending on the type of short-term care you access, help can be provided for a few days to a few months at a time.

Aged Care Homes

You or your loved one might be at a stage where living independently, even with carer support or home care services to help you, is no longer possible or considered safe.  If that’s the case, it may be time to consider moving into an aged care home.

An aged care home (sometimes known as a nursing home or residential aged care facility) is for older people who can no longer live at home and need ongoing help with everyday tasks or health care.

Leaving your own home and entering an aged care home isn’t an easy decision. But it doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. An aged care home can give you the care and services you need to maintain your quality of life.

The government funds a range of aged care homes across Australia so that they can provide care and support services to those who need it. Each aged care home is different, so it’s important to choose the right one for you.

How Does My Aged Care Assess My Needs?

The first stage is to find out if you or your loved one are eligible for subsidised aged care. This involves a two-part assessment process that understands the needs and what services could help. It starts with a simple eligibility check which can done online or over the phone followed by an in-person assessment.

The first step to access government-funded aged care services is to check eligibility for a face-to-face assessment.

Yours or your loved ones Medicare card is all that is needed. The application takes at least 10 minutes, so make sure there is a little time to spare.

The first step is an eligibility check. Our priority is getting the help that is needed. To do this, My Aged Care will ask about:

  • your or your loved one’s health
  • how you’re/they’re managing at home
  • any support currently receiving
  • the answers will help My Aged Care understand your needs and whether there is eligibility for a face-to-face assessment. 

If you are eligible, they will ask you for a few details to complete the application.

My Aged Care will keep a record of the application, so they won’t need to ask for the same information again at your assessment.

If your application is successful, an assessor will be in contact to arrange a face-to-face assessment. A face-to-face assessment can determine exactly what you or your loved one needs and can even give advice about services you may not have thought about. 

If you or your loved one have immediate needs, My Aged Care may refer you directly to services before your assessment takes place.

What To Consider When Looking For Residential Care?

Each organisation will provide services differently and charge different costs. So it’s important to look around, think about your or your loved ones priorities, needs, budget, and location, and compare providers before deciding.

When looking for aged care services, there are four general areas you should consider:

Service – Does the provider offer the services that you or loved one are eligible for and is the provider going to meet those needs?

Costs – What fees and costs might be needed to pay?

Availability – Does the provider have availability now, or is there a waiting list, and for how long?

Quality – Will the provider deliver good, quality service?

What Kind of Assessment Will My Aged Care Give Me?

There are two types of assessments that work out care needs and what types of care you or loved one may be eligible for.

A home support assessment with a Regional Assessment Service (RAS)

If, from the information provided during the call, it sounds like low-level support is needed to stay independent in the home, the contact centre may recommend a home support assessment with a RAS assessor. This type of support is provided through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

A comprehensive assessment with an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)

If it sounds like care needs are greater than what the Commonwealth Home Support Programme can support, a comprehensive assessment with an ACAT assessor may be recommended

How To Prepare For An Assessment?

It has now been assessed from the call, that an ACAT assessor is recommended and needs to conduct a face-to-face assessment, here are some tips:

For any face-to-face assessment:

  • have your Medicare card and one other form of ID proof – such as DVA card, driver’s license, healthcare card, or passport;
  • have a copy of any referrals from your doctor;
  • consider if you would like a support person present;
  • have any information you already have about aged care services that you may want to discuss
  • have contact details for your GP or other health professionals;
  • consider if you need special assistance to communicate, such as a translator or Auslan interpreter;
  • have information on any support you receive.

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