Once you have received a letter to say that you are approved for entry into an aged care home, follow this pathway to access care in an aged care home and manage your services:
When deciding on an aged care home, it is important to find out if the home has the care and services you need, now and into the future. The best way to find a place that suits you is to visit a few different homes to find out:
- what the accommodation is like
- what types of care, services and activities they offer
- how they can best service your needs
- the fees payable for care and services and what they mean
- accommodation prices and what they mean
- any additional services they offer.
Find providers in your local area with help from your assessor, by using the service finder or calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, and contact the aged care home/s to arrange a time to visit.
Meeting with providers
Before you visit any aged care homes, it’s a good idea to make a list of the things that are important to you in a home. You may want to take your:
- letter from the ACAT assessor as some homes will want to know that you have been approved to receive residential care and what services you need
- fee notification letter from the Department of Human Services (DHS) if you already have the outcome of a financial assessment (read more in Work out the costs).
Talk to your carer or family members to make sure you've thought of everything, and ask them about their needs too, so that they can still support you in your new home.
As you visit each home, you may also want to make notes about what you like, what you don't like and if 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.
Some questions you can ask providers:
- What training do the care staff have (what is the mix of registered nurses, enrolled nurses or trained carers)? How many staff provide care overnight? How do you ensure there are enough of the right staff to care for residents' needs?
- What arrangements are there to ensure residents' privacy?
- What are the meal arrangements? These include seating, times, menus, visitors, meals in your room and special diets.
- Can the home meet your special needs? These may include language and culture, religious beliefs, sexuality or gender identity, pets and access to medical visits?
- Can the home help with everyday tasks? These include dressing, using the toilet, bathing or moving around the home.
- Can the home meet your medical needs such as help with medication or wound care?
- How are social and cultural activities decided? How are residents' interests taken into account?
- How can family and friends be involved in care? Can they stay overnight if needed?
- What transport can you access for visiting shops, family and friends? How much will this cost?
- Can the home help arrange appointments and access to services such as podiatry (foot care), physiotherapy (exercise, mobility, strength and balance), dietician services (food and nutrition assessment and advice, dietary changes) or speech therapy (communicating, swallowing or eating)? Can you continue to see your own GP and other health practitioners?
- What type of care services cannot be provided? How would you find out about this?
- What are the arrangements if you want to stay with family overnight?
- What checks are in place to ensure quality service? Read more about finding quality services below.
Finding quality services
It is important to think about quality when looking for aged care services. You are encouraged to visit a number of services and see which ones will best suit your care needs. There are tools and information available to help you find quality services and check the quality of aged care including:
- questions to ask service providers about quality of aged care
- use the find a service tool to see available reports for each aged care home
- accreditation standards.
Help accessing aged care services
If you need extra assistance, an advocate can support you to access Australian Government funded aged care services. Advocacy services can give you information about your rights and responsibilities when accessing aged care services.