Finding a good aged care home

Finding a good aged care home

by Christine Hopper

Now that we have the ACAS Assessment how do we find a good aged care place for our family member?

Before you start contacting aged care facilities, try to clarify the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of your ideal facility.

Finding a good aged care home- what is a good home for our family

The ‘what’ depends on the individual’s ACAS Assessment.  An ACAS Assessment of HIGH CARE was a permit to enter a nursing home before July 2014.  An ACAS Assessment of LOW CARE was a permit to enter an aged care hostel before July 2014.

As from July 2014, all Commonwealth regulated aged care facilities may provide High Care and Low Care. An ACAS of High Care or Low Care is sufficient to allow the frail person to enter Commonwealth regulated and potentially subsidized residential aged care.

Some aged care facilities allow for any new resident to occupy any vacant room; the staff bring the required level of care to that resident in her chosen room.  Other aged care facilities allocate rooms to residents based on the resident’s care needs.  The residents who only need Low Care could occupy the rooms on the ground floor with easy access to the courtyard garden.  The residents who cannot safely move around without assistance might have rooms in a cluster with more staff nearby.

If the ACAS Assessment states SECURE DEMENTIA then you need a facility with a key pad locked unit designed for a group of about ten people with severe memory challenges.  Residents who enter as Secure Dementia Low Care are usually permitted stay in that unit for life.

Finding a good aged care home- where is a good home for our family

The ‘where’ depends mainly on where the potential visitors live and work.  If the aged care home is within 15 minutes walk from grandma’s home then she could visit her husband every day.  But if the distance is over an hour of driving time then a weekly visit could be a challenge.

The ‘where’ could be influenced by financial factors.  New aged care facilities in leafy suburbs with relatively high land values, generally ask for substantial Accommodation Room Prices, or Bonds, and possibly Extra Service fees.  Not many ‘Standard ‘High Care places are being built on highly valued land.

There is no comprehensive list of aged care facilities with vacant beds.  Many Standard High Care beds are allocated within hours of becoming vacant.  Extra Service High Care and Low Care beds which require substantial Accommodation Room Prices are more readily accessible.

Many facilities choose to pay for a listing and maybe an advertisement, in the DPS Aged Care Guide for the relevant State.  The hardcopy DPS Aged Care Guide is an annual publication distributed free by ACAS and hospital social workers.  Alternatively, a copy of the latest DPS Guide for your State is included in the Aged Care Entry pack mailed out by the Commonwealth Aged Care Information Line – Call 1800 200 422.

The on-line version of the DPS Aged Care Guide http://www.agedcareguide.com.au/ includes a listing of ‘Current Vacancies’.

Hospital social workers provide lists of facilities in their area which could have vacancies.  But you still need to check that the ‘listed’ aged care facility is appropriate for your family member.  You should always visit each facility, meet the staff and see the rooms on offer before accepting an aged care place.

Placement agencies assist families to locate vacant beds in facilities which might be suitable.  Some placement agencies are independent businesses which charge fees to cover the full costs of their services.  Many placement agencies have links to other businesses, such as aged care facilities and financial advisers, which contribute to the running costs of the placement agency.

Before being offered a place in an aged care facility the facility manager will ask you about the potential resident’s financial position.  Please read the next section Accommodation Costs for Residential Aged Care before disclosing any financial information.  You cannot later “undisclose” financial information.

If you would like further confidential, independent and professional advice about aged care costs, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper (03) 9808 0338.