Your aged care home is responsible for ensuring you receive quality care and services. Their key responsibilities to you are:
- To respect your rights
Your rights are protected, no matter what type of care you receive and where you receive it. Your rights are outlined in the Charter of Aged Care Rights.
- To provide you with quality services
Your provider must provide care that complies with the Aged Care Quality Standards. The standards reflect the level of care and services you can expect from your provider. Read more about the Aged Care Quality Standards.
- To regularly review your care plan
Your aged care home will regularly review your care and services to make sure they continue to meet your needs. This is known as ‘ageing in place’. This allows you to stay in your aged care home if/when your care needs change.
Can I take time away from the aged care home?
Yes. If you want to go on holiday, stay with a relative for a night or two, or need to go into hospital, you can take time away. To do this you should:
- Tell your home that you are planning on taking leave and let them know the date you’ll be away.
- Ask them how this affects your fees while you’re away.
Spending nights away from the aged care home for personal reasons is called social leave. If you take social leave, you will still have to pay your fees and accommodation costs. You can take up to 52 nights of social leave per financial year. Enough for a holiday away, or spending weekends with your family.
If you take more than 52 nights away, your home can ask you to pay more on top of your usual fees and accommodation costs. Talk to your provider to find out more.
Up to seven days of social leave can be used as pre-entry leave. This is designed to give you time to make arrangements before you move into your aged care home. It can be accessed when you first enter care, or if you transfer homes. You may be asked to pay the basic daily fee during this time, but you won’t need to pay for care or accommodation.
You can take unlimited leave if you need to go into hospital. You will need to continue to pay your fees and accommodation costs during this time, and cannot be asked to pay more while you are in hospital. Your means tested care fee could be reduced though if your stay is for 30 days or more.
You can take temporary leave from your aged care home during a situation declared an emergency by the Australian Government. This could include a disaster (natural or otherwise), pandemic or epidemic. It does not apply to personal emergencies.
Whether you are eligible for this leave depends on the following factors (determined by the government):
- that an emergency exists
- the specific region/area that is impacted
- the duration of the emergency.
How does it work?
Emergency Leave allows you to spend time away from your aged care home without losing your place. The Australian Government continues to pay subsidies to the aged care provider for the duration of your leave.
You will still need to pay your usual fees and accommodation costs. However, you cannot be charged any new fees to reserve your place at the home. Talk to your provider to make sure that you take the right type of leave and that the correct fees are paid.
What happens if my needs change?
If your needs change or you require extra care, you should speak to the manager of your home. They will review your care plan and make sure you’re receiving the level of care you need. If they are unable to provide the care you need, or you need specialised care, you may need to change providers.
Can I change rooms?
Yes, provided there is a suitable room available. You should speak to the manager of your aged care home to discuss your options. Your home must consider your request, even if it’s not possible to offer you another room right away.
If you do change rooms, the Accommodation Agreement must be changed before the move occurs to specify the new room and price. The cost may change, for example, if you choose to move from a shared room to a single room.
What if the home asks me to change rooms?
In some circumstances, you can be moved to another room without asking for the change. This can happen for a few reasons, for instance:
- if it is necessary for genuine medical reasons
- if your room in the home changes to an 'extra service room' and you choose not to pay the extra service fee
- if there are repairs or improvements taking place in the aged care home
- if you agree to a room price you are not eligible to pay – as per your accommodation agreement and means assessment.
If you have any concerns about being asked to change rooms or how your move is being handled, talk to the manager at your home in the first instance.
Can I move aged care homes?
Yes, you can – as long as you are offered a place there.
You may choose to move aged care homes for various reasons:
- to move closer to family and friends
- when a preferred home becomes available
- if you’re not satisfied with the quality or other arrangements at your current home.
If you would like to move aged care homes, it’s important to be open with both your current and new provider to ensure they know your plans and can support you where possible. The below steps can help you plan your move:
1. Confirm there is a spot available at your preferred aged care home
Before you plan your move, you will need to confirm:
- your preferred aged care home has a place available, and
- what date you can move in.
If you haven’t yet been offered a place, talk to the aged care home you are interested in to find out how to apply. You should wait until you are offered and accept a place at your new aged care home before you formally advise your current provider.
2. Let your current aged care home know your plans
Once you accept a place in a new aged care home, you should tell your current aged care home as early as possible. Each aged care home has its own moving processes, so talking to your provider early allows you to prepare for the move.
At this stage, you can discuss payment of your aged care fees and your refund preference, if you paid a lump sum (See ‘What happens if I paid a lump sum?’ below). You can also discuss the date that you might like the move to happen. Your current aged care home can’t make you leave until you have alternative accommodation. However, they may have a notice period, which you will find in your resident agreement.
3. Confirm your moving dates
Before you accept the offer at your new aged care home, make sure the entry date aligns with when you will be leaving your current home. You can ask the two homes to liaise directly to ensure the dates line up. Or you can discuss with each home yourself. It is important that the moving date is suitable for everyone.
Important: Please allow seven days for your current aged care home to accept your move and release your service. If you have any issues, you can call My Aged Care.
4. Accept the offer at your new aged care home
5. Prepare for your move
Speak with your new aged care home about what they will provide to ensure you have what you need in your new room.
Your current aged care home will be able to help pack your belongings and speak with your new aged care home about the moving and transfer arrangements.
Both aged care homes have a duty of care to ensure your move to the new home is safe and comfortable.
What happens if I paid a lump sum?
Any lump sum you paid is refundable, but how it works depends on the date you entered an aged care home.
If you entered the aged care home before 1 July 2014
Your accommodation bond balance can be transferred directly to your new care aged home.
You can also choose to enter the new aged care home under the post 1 July 2014 fee arrangements. Your new provider must give you information on this before you move into the new home.
Read more about aged care costs if you entered care before 1 July 2014.
If you entered the aged care home after 1 July 2014
Your accommodation deposit will be refunded within 14 days after you leave. However, the amount of notice you give the aged care home can impact when you receive your refund. See information about notice periods and refund times on our Accommodation Refunds page.
You will then need to enter another accommodation agreement with your new aged care home. You must receive this accommodation agreement before you move and agree within 28 days – but you must agree a room price before you enter.
As with your first aged care home, the new aged care home cannot ask you to pay a lump sum before you move in. This means you will need to pay for your accommodation by a daily payment, until you make this choice and/or the first provider refunds your accommodation deposit.
Can my aged care home ask me to leave?
Once you are permanently living in an aged care home, your place is secure and you should be able to stay there for as long as the provider is able to care for you. This is called Security of Tenure. However, there are times when you may be asked to leave the aged care home.
- The home is closing
- The home can no longer provide you with a suitable level of care and accommodation
- You no longer need the care the home provides
- Your fees are more than 42 days overdue, for reasons within your control
- You cause serious damage to the facility or another person
- You’re away for more than seven days (not counting authorised leave or emergencies).
You will have 14 days notice in writing if you have to move. No matter the reason, you cannot be asked to move until a suitable alternative that meets your needs and is affordable to you is available. If you have any concerns about being asked to leave, talk to the manager of your home in the first instance.
What if I have a complaint?
If you are unhappy with any aspect of the care or services you receive, there are two ways you can make a complaint:
- Speak to your aged care home
- Contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
Talk to your home first to see if they can help. They are there to support you, listen to your concerns, and take necessary action.
Sometimes, complaints can’t be resolved by your aged care home. Alternatively, you may not feel comfortable raising your concerns with them. In such cases, you have the right to contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. For more information, visit our Complaints page.
At any time you can get help from an advocate from the National Aged Care Advocacy Program, which is delivered by the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN). An advocate can help you by:
- listening to your concerns
- giving you information
- speaking up for you