Has the time come for you or a loved-one to move into a nursing home, but you’re just not sure of how to do it and what the process is?

Well, you’re in the right place. Listed below are the 6 steps required to get into a nursing home in Australia.

How to Get Into a Nursing Home in Australia

To enter a nursing home in Australia, you must first undergo an aged care assessment, understand the costs, determine which options you can afford, optimise your financial situation, complete the necessary forms, and then move in.

Let’s go through each of these steps individually.

Step 1: Aged Care Assessment

In order to be eligible to move into subsidised aged care, a person must first be assessed by a member of the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT or ACAS in Victoria). An ACAT assessment does not cost anything, as these assessments are funded by the Australian Government.

Upon completion of an ACAT assessment, you will be told whether or not you are eligible

for government subsidised aged care services and the type of care you require, potentially

including respite.

You can check if you are eligible for an aged care assessment by calling 1800 200 422 or answering these questions.

Step 2: Understand Costs

Understanding nursing home costs can give you a good idea of the fees associated with aged care, so that you can begin planning affordability.

There are several types of aged care fees. Some of these costs are set by the Government and some by the nursing home. These include:

Fees Set By Government

  • Basic Daily Care Fee – payable by everyone in aged care and equal to 85% of the single Age Pension rate.
  • Means Tested Care Fee – varies depending on the nursing home resident’s level of income and assets.

Fees Set By Nursing Home

  • Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD)* – Lump sum bond amount of which none, some or all can be paid.
  • Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP)* – A daily payment calculated on any unpaid RAD amount, based on an interest rate set by the Government.
  • Additional Services Fee – An extra payment to cover additional services such as pay TV, alcohol, hairdressing, more food options, etc.

*If a person is assessed as entering care as a low-means resident, a Refundable Accommodation Contribution (RAC) and/or Daily Accommodation Contribution (DAC) will be payable instead of a RAD/DAP.

Learn More About:  Aged Care Fees & Costs

Step 3: Find a Home & Determine Affordability

Once your loved-one has completed an assessment for subsidised aged care and you have an understanding of the types of costs that will be incurred, the next step is to find a suitable home.

A suitable home might be an aged care facility that is near family and friends for regular visits. You will also want to find a home that is affordable and within the means of the person moving into care. To do this, you should perform calculations to ensure that the resident can fund their aged care needs for the remainder of their lives. The risk of moving into a home that is above an affordability level is that the onus could be on the Power of Attorney or family as guarantor to meet any unfunded costs.

Read This Next: Who Pays For Nursing Home Care in Australia?

Step 4: Optimise Your Financial Position

Once you get your head around all of the aged care rules, you can structure income and assets in a manner that can increase the likelihood of covering costs for the required timeframe, while also improving Centrelink entitlements and reducing aged care costs.

Often, a person will move into aged care without considering how to pay for aged care and

how to structure their income and assets beneficially. This can be a very costly mistake.

Once you understand the rules and have compared various options, you can determine which strategy will work best for you.

For instance, we will often look at a combination of each of the following options to ensure that our clients are optimising their financial position before moving into aged care:

  • Keep the former-home
  • Rent the former-home
  • Sell the former home
  • Pay the RAD in full
  • Partly pay the RAD
  • Nominate for the DAP to be deducted from the RAD
  • Ensure adequate bank savings are retained
  • Determine if gifting is appropriate
  • Assess the benefits of funeral bonds and prepayments
  • Plus more…

Implementation and optimisation of these aged care financial planning strategies will not only ensure fees can be covered for the remainder of the resident’s life, but also often improve the resident’s financial position by at least $5,000 each year.

Step 5: Complete & Submit Forms

Applying for an aged care home requires you to submit an application with your preferred

facility. It is best that you discuss the application process with the aged care home directly. A placement consultant can assist you with this.

To be eligible for government subsidies so as to assist with the cost of aged care, you will need

to complete the residential aged care combined assets and income assessment form and submit

it to Centrelink or the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA).

Centrelink will use this information to determine your Means Tested Care fee and then notify yourself and the aged care home. This process can sometimes take a few months. In the meantime, aged care homes may charge an interim Means Tested Care fee. This may be far higher than the actual assessed amount. It can be a cause of much stress when the first invoice arrives, but rest-assured any overpayments are reimbursed once the official assessment is finalised.

Step 6: Move In

Every aged care home has different rules, routines and surroundings. Upon moving in, you will likely be asked to contribute a deposit towards the RAD. It is not compulsory to make a contribution to a RAD, but it is often a preference of an aged care facility to receive some level of payment from you towards the RAD.

You will also be required to sign a residency agreement – a legal document stating your fees

and conditions of residing at the home. You may choose to seek legal advice before signing this. Despite living in aged care, your friends and family can and should remain an important part

of your life.

At Core Value Aged Care Advice, we will help you navigate the complexities of aged care and find the best financial solutions for your family. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your situation, please call us on 1300 944 011 to speak with an expert aged care adviser today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions around getting into a nursing home in Australia.

What is the Average Length of Stay in a Nursing Home in Australia?

The average length of stay in a nursing home in Australia is 2.8 years, which is made up of 2.1 years for males and 3.2 years for females.

What is the Difference Between a Nursing Home and an Aged Care Facility?

There is no difference between a nursing home and an aged care facility. These terms are used interchangeably, with nursing home being a more colloquial outdated term and residential aged care facility being a more current formal term.

What is the Minimum Fee for a Nursing Home in Australia?

The minimum cost of nursing home care in Australia is the Basic Daily Care fee. The Basic Daily Care fee is payable at the same rate for everyone that is in an aged care facility. The current rate from September 2023 is $60.86 per day. The Basic Daily Care fee is always equal to 85% of the single Age Pension rate.

What is the Age Limit for Nursing Homes in Australia?

The standard minimum age limit for nursing homes in Australia is 65 years of age. There is no maximum age limit. Younger Australians under age 65 are permitted into nursing homes under rare instances if there are no other suitable options to meet their needs.

Can a Doctor Put Someone in a Nursing Home in Australia?

A doctor cannot put someone in a nursing home in Australia. In fact, no one can put anyone into care without their consent, unless the person has lost capacity, in which case a power of attorney or legal representative can assist a person with a move into aged care after an aged care assessment.

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Hi, I hope you found this article useful.

If you wish to discuss your situation and what strategies may be of benefit please contact us here 

Thanks - Shane