Residential Care (Nursing Homes) - FAQ

What is Residential Care?

Residential Care facilities are operated throughout Australia. Organisations that operate these facilities in most cases fall into the category of ‘Not for Profit’ or ‘For Profit’, although some facilities are run by State Governments.

Residential Care provides 24 hour care for its residents, with the care provided by a mix of Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses and Carers.

The accommodation in the facilities we recommend, in most cases consists of a single room with an ensuite, although there are some two person share rooms, and couples rooms.

All meals are provided and there are numerous activities that residents may participate in.  

When is Residential Care required?

Residential Care is appropriate for people who live in their own home, and may be accessing In Home Care, but are no longer able to manage to live independently. This includes people who have high personal care needs, including assistance with showering, dressing, & mobility, have a diagnosis of dementia, may be at risk of having a fall or leaving on an appliances, live alone and are isolated and/or who have a spouse suffering from carer’s stress.

How can I qualify for Residential Care?

Prior to accessing Residential Care, you will require an ACAT assessment approval (refer above), Once that approval is granted you can lodge applications with the facilities of your choice.

Where should you lodge applications and how do you apply?

It is likely you will wish to be placed in a facility that is located close to where you live or near to family members. Age Care Directions can assist you with selection of suitable facilities and lodgement of applications. We recommend facilities that have a focus on the quality of care provided, and we rely on our extensive experience and feedback from our clients in making our recommendations.

Do facilities have vacancies and if not, how long will I have to wait for a placement to be offered?

While some facilities will have vacancies, many will have a waiting list. If you lodge applications with a small number of facilities it is possible you may have to wait several weeks or even months prior to a placement being offered.  When we assist you with lodging applications, we usually find facilities offer a placement within a short period of time.

What do you need to do when an offer of placement is made?

You will need to inspect the facility and the room on offer then advise the facility whether you wish to accept or decline their offer. Usually, you will be required to inspect the room on the same day the offer is made and then advise the facility of your decision within a further 12- 24 hours. If you accept the offer of placement, you will be required to move in within a further 7 days.


What can you take with you when you accept an offer of placement?

You can provide some home furnishings, including a comfortable chair for yourself (recliner lifter), chairs for visitors, a corner cabinet for your family photos and items you have collected, pictures and prints to hang on the walls, a television (sometimes provided), a phone handset and a quilt/bed cover in a colour of your choice.

What will be provided by the facility?

A bed (hospital type), built in wardrobe, and some will provide a television. They may also provide basic furniture including a lock up cabinet, and chairs for visitors. They also provide 24 hour care, meals, sanitary items etc. Most facilities have a hairdresser and many will have a café. For an additional fee, some facilities will also provide ‘add ons’ such as wine with meals, internet access, Foxtel and the daily paper for an additional cost. You will be responsible for the cost of medications, phone calls, and other personal items.

What are the costs of Residential Care?

There are three main fees;

Basic Daily Care Fee:

This fee is payable by all residents, and is equivalent to approximately 85% of the full Centrelink pension. It is reviewed half yearly (March & September) and is adjusted in line with any increase in the pension.

Means Tested Fee:

This fee has asset and income components and is determined by lodgement of ‘Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment’. The Means Tested Fee will be reviewed quarterly and when there is a change in your financial position.

Accommodation Cost:

The Accommodation Cost is the cost of the room you are offered and will vary significantly between facilities. It is only payable if your Assets and/or Income exceed the threshold amounts. If less than the thresholds, you may not have to pay the Accommodation Cost or you may be required to pay a Means Tested Contribution towards the Accommodation Cost.

There are three options available for payment of the accommodations Cost:

  1. Refundable Accommodation Deposit (R.A.D.) which is a lump sum, payable within 6 months of being admitted into the facility, and is fully refundable when you leave the facility.

  2. Daily Accommodation Payment  (D.A.P.) which is a daily interest payment, and which is calculated by converting the Accommodation Cost to a daily payment using a rate of interest set by the Government. This payment is not refundable.

  3. A combination of a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (R.A.D.) and a Daily Accommodation Payment (D.A.P.) You may request the facility to deduct the D.A.P. from the R.A.D., If so, the amount of the R.A.D. refunded will be reduced by the amount of the D.A.P. paid.

If you are a couple, and one spouse is admitted into Residential Care, that person’s half share of assets and income will be assessed. This includes assets and income held in joint and/or single names. If your spouse is living in the family home, it will be excluded from your assessable assets.

The amounts of the Basic Daily Care Fee and Means Tested Fee will be the same at all facilities.

Is it possible to move to another facility?

Yes - it is possible to move. However, it may be difficult to find another facility that will offer you a placement as other facilities may view you as not urgent. Also, once you have settled in at a facility, you may not wish to move again. The amount of the Accommodation Cost will be set by the facility you move to, and it may differ from that you are currently paying.

Should I try respite care prior to accepting a permanent placement?

From our experience, we do not believe there is a significant benefit in trying respite first. There are some potential drawbacks, which include;

  1. In respite, you do not have life tenure, so if while in respite you have a hospital admission, it is likely you will lose the room.

  2. When the respite period ends, there may not be a permanent bed on offer, and if this is the case, you will have to move out of the facility.

  3. A short period of time in respite may be insufficient to adequately assess the facility, and any difficulties you experience may be caused by adjusting to a new environment rather than the facility being unsuitable for you.

  4. Because there are relatively few respite beds in each facility, and the fact they are often booked months in advance, it may be difficult to access respite at the facility of your choice.

We find that when people accept an offer of permanent placement, they usually make a good decision, settle in well and remain at the facility.

We hear bad stories about Residential Care, so should we be worried?

We have assisted hundreds of individuals with placement in Residential Care, and their families have consistently provided positive feedback about their family members’ experiences. We recommend facilities based on the quality of care they provide and do not receive any commission or incentive payments to recommend them.

Get in touch with us today if you would like to find out more