Understanding aged care services

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Understanding aged care services

If you or a loved one are no longer able to remain living independently at home, it is important to know what services are available to ensure quality of life and comfort.

What is aged care?

Aged care is a term most easily understood as being nursing homes and home care. It may also refer to community services, specific geriatric health care and community centres.

Who funds aged care?

Aged care in Australia is funded by the Federal Government, with means tested contributions from the consumer. There are also non Government funded services offered by private businesses, as well as church and charitable organisations. The majority of residential aged care services and home care packages listed in the DPS Guide are government funded and depending on the type of support you’re trying to

 access, an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or Regional Assessment Service (RAS) is required.

Where do I start?

If you or someone close to you, are in need of assistance at home or require some form of supported residential care, it is best to first speak with your doctor or other health professional. If the person requiring care is in hospital, then speak with a social worker, a discharge planner or the admitting doctor. They may refer you to the district nurses or liaise with a reputable provider of care services. Alternatively, if moving into a retirement village is an appealing living option for you, detailed planning, thought and advice is needed.

Whatever your needs, the DPS Guide to Aged Care or www.agedcareguide.com.au provides the information you require to access care at home or to make the transition to residential aged care, home care or a retirement village.

The most difficult step!

Decision making is often referred to as the most difficult step within aged care and learning about what services are available can be time consuming. Many qualified health professionals who have a great deal of knowledge about the aged and community care sector agree there are many choices from all of the options being offered. It is recommended that consulting a health professional, such as a case manager, placement consultant or general practitioner, is valuable. 

If you feel the situation is urgent and the government funded services are unable to respond quickly, then you may wish to consider the many reputable private providers. In emergencies, always contact or proceed to your local doctor or hospital for assistance.

Home and community care

Home care products and services range from assistance with daily  chores including: personal care, providing meals, transport assistance and personal grooming. The same arm of Government which funds the majority of residential aged care services also mostly pays for Home Care Packages.

There are four levels of Home Care Packages and a dementia and veteran supplement is available at each level. The Federal Government has significantly increased support for home and community based aged care and there are particular integrated packages available.

Both Government and private businesses may provide these products and services, all of which are listed in the DPS Guide to Aged Care https://www.agedcareguide.com.au.

Residential aged care

Entry into a Commonwealth funded residential aged care home requires an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). Care ranges from low to high level requirements, including dementia specific care needs. There are also a number of non Government funded residential aged care homes: supported communities or assisted living complexes, independent living units and serviced apartments.

Respite care

Respite care offers the opportunity for both the carer, and the person being cared for, to take a break. This ‘break’ may be for a few hours, a day, a night or a few weeks. Respite care is provided by residential aged care homes and community care services. 

Retirement living

It may be difficult to know where to start, but information and advice on retirement living are available to assist you. Although states and territories have slightly different legislation to protect the rights of retirement village residents, all legislation addresses a range of issues. Retirement villages are not nursing homes, they are clusters of villas, units or apartments. Generally, the land is owned by the operator and residents enter into a lease type arrangement so that they can live there as long as they choose to do so.

Some villages may offer units to be purchased on a freehold basis. Legislation sets clear standards for managing, owning and operating villages, disclosing details, finances and information about the village.



This article was originally published in the DPS Guide to Aged Care. Reproduced with permission of DPS Publishing. https://www.agedcareguide.com.au

Important note: This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account.  It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, we do not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person. 

Any information provided by DPS Publishing detailed above is separate and external to us and our Licensee, AMP Financial Planning Pty Limited. Neither we, nor AMP Financial Planning Pty Limited take any responsibility for their action or any service they provide.