An aged care home (sometimes known as a nursing home) is for older people who can no longer live at home and need ongoing help with everyday tasks or health care. Residential aged care can be permanent or short-term care with help available 24 hours a day. Short-term care in an aged care home is called residential respite care.
Privately funded aged care services and housing options, such as retirement villages, are not included on the My Aged Care website as they are not approved providers of aged care services funded by the Australian Government.
You may be eligible for Australian Government subsidised care in an aged care home if you are:
- an older person who can no longer live independently at home
- a younger person with a disability, dementia or other special care needs that are not met through other specialist services.
To find out if you are eligible for entry to an aged care home that is subsidised by the Australian Government, you will need an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).
Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. The contact centre staff will ask you some questions to work out whether to refer you for a free assessment with an ACAT (or ACAS in Victoria).
There is no cost for your assessment to determine if you are eligible for care in an aged care home.
A member of your local ACAT, usually a nurse, social worker or other health professional, will work out if you are eligible for care in an aged care home and what services you need. You also need this assessment for planned or emergency residential respite care.
After the assessment, the ACAT will write to you to let you know the outcome of your assessment. The letter will outline the services you can receive, as well as the reasons why. You will also receive other information on your assessment.
If you are not eligible to go into an aged care home, an ACAT may be able to suggest other options so you can receive the care you need. For example, you may be eligible to receive some help at home.
If you are not happy with your assessment outcome, the letter will also explain how to ask for a review of the ACAT decision.
You should keep a copy of the approval letter. This will make it easier for service providers to confirm that you are eligible to receive government-subsidised aged care services.
Find out more about an ACAT assessment.
Care and services
An aged care home can help you with everyday tasks, personal care or 24-hour nursing care. Care and services that must be provided to you if you need them include:
- maintenance of grounds and buildings
- furnishings (bedside locker, chairs with arms, containers for personal laundry, dining, lounge and recreational furnishing)
- bedding (beds, mattresses, bed linen, blankets and absorbent or waterproof sheeting)
- cleaning services, goods and facilities
- waste disposal
- basic toiletries
- meals and refreshments (including special dietary requirements)
- social activities at the home
- help in emergencies.
Personal care assistance:
- bathing, showering, personal hygiene and grooming
- going to the toilet/maintaining continence
- communication support
- emotional support
- assistance with taking medications
- ordering and reordering medications
- carrying out treatments and procedures as per the instructions of a health professional (includes bandages, dressings, swabs and saline)
- recreational therapy
- rehabilitation support
- arranging access to health professionals
- support for care recipients with cognitive impairment.
Complex care and services:
As well as hotel and personal care services, aged care homes must provide complex care and services according to your care needs. Depending on your assessed care needs, you may be asked to pay additional fees for these services. Complex care and services include:
- special bedding materials
- mobility goods (excludes motorised wheelchairs and custom made aids)
- toileting and incontinence aids
- nursing services including an initial assessment and care planning. Services may include, but are not limited to:
- complex pain management or a palliative care program
- catheter care
- stoma care
- wound management
- special feeding for care recipients with dysphagia
- tracheostomy care
- enema administration
- oxygen therapy
- dialysis treatment
- therapy services such as recreational activities, speech therapy, podiatry (foot care), occupational, and physiotherapy services (excluding intensive, long-term rehabilitation after serious illness or injury, surgery or trauma).
Read more about Care and services you may be charged for.