Once you’ve accepted a place, the aged care home will help formalise the offer. There will be two or three contracts that cover all the details. These might be given to you as separate documents, or combined into one.
Resident agreement - sets out the care and services the aged care home will provide and how much you will be asked to help pay for them.
Accommodation agreement - sets out what room you are taking and how much you have agreed to pay, as well as other accommodation conditions, if relevant.
Extra services agreement - only applies if the aged care home has extra service status, and you are entering an extra service room.
What’s in the resident agreement?
The resident agreement is a legal agreement with your aged care home. It covers:
Care and support services
The agreement will cover all the care and support services the aged care home is able to provide, and the specific care and services it will offer you. It will include how the aged care home plans to meet your needs in the future, too, if things happen to change.
It will explain how much your care will cost, broken down into basic daily and means tested care fees (if applicable). It will include all the details about how your fees are calculated as well. It will also outline fees for any additional services that the aged care home provides. If you’ve agreed to additional services, you will be provided with a regular itemised account. If it is an extra service place, it will include details of the extra service fee.
Rights and responsibilities
The agreement will explain your rights and responsibilities as a resident, and the responsibilities your aged care home has to you. It will also outline the process for dealing with concerns and complaints.
Security of tenure
It will outline how the aged care home will continue to support you as your needs change, known as “ageing in place”. It will also include details around when you can be asked to leave, how to exit the agreement, and how to move to another aged care home.
If they have a policy on visitors, it will be explained, along with any other matters agreed to between you and the manager of the aged care home.
What’s in the accommodation agreement?
The accommodation agreement covers:
The agreement will include details about the specific room you will be provided with.
The agreement will clearly outline the price you agreed to pay for the room. Whether you have to pay towards your accommodation or not, everyone entering an aged care home needs to agree to a room price in writing. This cannot be higher that the published price for the room, and you can negotiate a lower price.
Your means assessment determines if you are eligible for government assistance with your accommodation costs. If you are not eligible, you will pay the agreed room price, but there is room to negotiate directly with your aged care home. Services Australia can advise which applies to you.
You have options for how you pay for the accommodation. They include a rental-style payment, a refundable lump sum amount, or a combination of both. The requirements for refunding the lump-sum deposit will also be outlined. You have 28 days to decide how you would like to structure your payments and enter into the accommodation agreement.
Learn more about the different accommodation payment options and how to calculate the amounts for each one.
There may be circumstances where you will need to change rooms. The agreement will outline the policies and requirements on how this happens. For more information on room changes, you can read the Managing services page.
What’s in the extra service agreement?
This agreement only applies if your aged care home has extra service status, allowing them to provide upgraded hotel-type services. Extra service status can apply to a whole aged care home, or just particular rooms.
If you are entering an extra service status room, you must have an extra service agreement that includes:
- the extra service fee
- details of the higher standard of accommodation, meals and services.
The extra service agreement may form part of the resident agreement.
Entering into an agreement
When you’re happy with the terms of the agreement(s), you can ‘enter into an agreement’. This is usually done by signing the agreement(s) to declare that you understand and accept them. There is no time limit to sign the resident agreement, but it’s in your best interest to agree to the arrangements that cover your rights and responsibilities as soon as possible.
What if I can’t sign the agreements?
If you cannot sign your agreements because of physical or medical problems, another person legally representing you may do so on your behalf. You will then get a copy of the agreements.
Can I choose not to sign the agreements?
Yes, you can. If you choose not to sign, you can still enter into the agreement verbally. Your aged care home will record the reason you didn’t sign and the care and services you will be receiving.
Can I change my mind?
Yes. If you change your mind and want to withdraw from the resident agreement, you have a 14-day cooling off period from the date you agreed.
If you change your mind within this 14-day period, let your aged care home know in writing straight away. You will still need to pay for any fees and charges mentioned in the agreement for the period that you were in care. If you’ve made any other payments to your aged care home during that time, you are entitled to a refund.
Who can help you understand the agreements?
The agreements are legally binding documents, and it’s important you understand what they contain before you agree to them.
If you have any questions, ask your aged care home beforehand. It’s their job to make sure it all makes sense to you. You can also ask family, friends, carers or a legal professional for help.
You may also want to get help from an advocate. They provide help for a wide range of government aged care services. You can find out more by visiting the Older Persons Advocacy Network website.