What are the admission requirements to enter an aged care facility in Australia?

As we get older, we may need some help and assistance with day-to-day activities. If you’re considering aged care admission, or if you’re a loved one thinking about moving a family member into aged care, you might be wondering where to start.

An aged care facility, otherwise known as a nursing home, is for older people who can no longer live independently at home and need help with daily tasks or healthcare. 

Making the decision to enter aged care is not an easy one. That being said, an aged care facility can provide the care and services you may need to meet your increasing care requirements and quality of life. 

In this article, we’ll outline some of the requirements for aged care admission in Australia. 

How does aged care admission work? 

An aged care facility provides accommodation, daily services such as meals, activities, and laundry, as well as personal care including bathing, nursing care and help with taking medications. 

Before you can enter an aged care home, your level of need and support will need to be assessed. 

You’ll also need to undertake a means test, which assesses how much you can afford to contribute to the cost of your care and accommodation. 

There are government-funded aged care homes and private aged care homes. To be eligible for a government-subsidised aged care facility you must be an older person who is unable to live at home independently. 

Younger people living with a disability or impacted by dementia may also be eligible but this is due to change in the near future. 

Once you’ve been assessed and approved for aged care admission, it’s worthwhile doing your research into a number of different aged care facilities to find the best option for your needs. 

To get assessed for aged care admission, either you or a nominated representative needs to call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. The team at My Aged Care will ask a series of questions before referring you on for assessment and eligibility  

How do I find out if I’ve been approved for aged care admission?

Once assessed, an assessor will make a formal decision about your care needs. If approved, you will receive a formal letter confirming your eligibility. This letter will outline a support plan from the Aged Care Assessment Team and detail the support you are eligible to receive. 

The letter will also include a referral code that you will supply to your chosen aged care facility if and when you decide to move into an aged care home.  

If you are not approved for aged care admission, you will receive a letter explaining why you did not meet the criteria and who to contact for more information. If you’re eligible for alternative care or services, this will be detailed in the letter. 

You can request a new assessment at any time if your care needs change. 

What should I do after I’m approved for aged care admission? 

Once approved for aged care admission, the next step is to get an understanding of aged care costs and fees and shop around for an aged care home with a suitable level of care. 

Each home sets its own accommodation costs and fees so costs can vary significantly between facilities. 

At this point, it can be very helpful to seek the support of an aged care financial adviser. Professional aged care advisers (like the team at Beacon) can help you understand the fee structures in place at your chosen aged care facility. Our team can help you structure your finances to meet the accommodation costs and also support you with any forms that may need to be submitted for Centrelink as well. 

We can also guide you around other big financial decisions you may be considering, such as potentially selling your home to pay for aged care or gifting assets to family. Every person’s situation is different, so the advice you receive should be tailored to your individual circumstances. 

Some costs you may need to pay include;

  • A basic daily care fee, which covers the costs of meals, laundry and other daily care requirements. 
  • A means tested care fee, which is assessed based on your income and other assets. This fee will vary from person to person and contributes to your care requirements. This fee is often reliant on information you submit to Centrelink, so the team at Beacon often work closely with our clients to ensure this is completed accurately and without too much stress.
  • Accommodation costs. You may be eligible to have this fee subsidised in full or part by the government. It’s best to speak with an aged care financial adviser about this fee to find out the best option for you based on your financial circumstances.
  • Fees for additional services. You may need to pay additional costs if you opt for a higher standard of accommodation or services beyond your standard care needs. 

It’s important to note that many of these fees and costs may not apply to you and may be subsidised by the government, depending on your personal financial circumstances. 

Unfortunately many people pay more than they are required due to incorrect financial advice so we highly recommend that you rely only on professional advice from specialists in this area.

For extra support in this process, speak to Beacon Aged Care 

Transitioning into aged care is never easy, but it doesn’t need to be daunting. 

Choosing an aged care facility, and deciding how to fund that long-term, can be overwhelming. Legislation and entitlements for support can be complicated and change regularly, and it’s sometimes hard to know your options.

Contact Beacon Aged Care today, we’ll talk about the advice you need, and how Beacon can assist. We guarantee that you will receive personalised advice in easy-to-understand language, to help make those tough decisions with confidence and certainty.

If you prefer to email, get typing and we will call you back at a time that suits.