When you get to the point of not being able to take care of your own needs anymore, it’s comforting to know there are places to support you. Aged care facilities can provide the support, assistance and care you need to remove the worry and stress from your older years. However, applying to enter an aged care home is a big step and can feel overwhelming for some people. It seems like there’s a lot of steps you need to follow and procedures to undergo – but you don’t have to do it alone. Help is available for older Australians at every step of the process.
Here’s what you need to know about the assistance and support you can access to streamline the process of applying to enter an aged care facility.
Help at the initial call stage
In order to be assessed for your eligibility for care in an aged care home, you will need to call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. During the call My Aged Care staff will question you about your current circumstances and needs so that you can be referred for a free assessment if your care needs show that you might be eligible for care in an aged care home.
If you have concerns or need help:
- Talk to your ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) assessor or manager first. If you don’t have their contact details, these can be provided by the My Aged Care Contact Centre.
- If this does not resolve your issue, your ACAT assessor can provide contact details for your state or territory government department manager.
Help at the assessment outcome stage
Your assessor will make a formal decision about your care needs and level of care required after the assessment is complete. They will decide whether or not you are eligible for entry into an aged care facility.
If you have concerns or need help:
- If you don’t receive a letter containing an assessment decision, contact your ACAT Service or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to request a copy of the letter.
- If you do not agree with the assessment outcome contained in your letter, or have any concerns at all about the decision, contact your ACAT Service.
- If you still don’t agree with the decision after having discussed it with your ACAT assessor, your next step is to write to the Secretary of the Department of Health, asking for a free review of the decision. You will need to outline why you think the assessment is wrong and why the decision should be changed. After receiving your assessment outcome letter, you have 28 days to write to the Secretary to appeal the decision at:
Department of Health
Attn: Aged Care Assessment Program
GPO Box 9848
Sydney NSW 2001
- If you are still unsatisfied with the outcome of this review, your next step is to contact the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on 1800 228 333. There is a charge for this process, however. For further details, go to the website at aat.gov.au.
For further details on the steps to enter an aged care home, read this handy guide.
Help accessing aged care services
If you need more assistance or support, or help understanding the process, Advocacy Services can help you access government-funded aged care services and advise you on your rights and responsibilities when accessing aged care services. Call the National Aged Care Advocacy Line on 1800 700 600 for free, independent and confidential advocacy services.
Help concerning financial matters
The DHS Financial Information Service provides basic information about managing your finances and is a free confidential service. Call the DHS on 132 300 and say, ‘financial information service’ when prompted.
Help negotiating the details with your aged care provider
You are welcome to get help from an advocate or financial advisor or legal professional to help you understand the terms of your formal aged care agreement that you make with your provider. You can call the National Aged Care Advocacy Line on 1800 700 600.
You can also get help negotiating fees and accommodation costs with the aged care provider. You will need to discuss and formally agree to these accommodation costs and fees before you enter the aged care facility.
For more on how to choose an aged care facility that’s right for you, see this article.
Translation and interpreting services
If English is not your first language, you can call the Translating and Interpreting Services (TIS National) on 131 450, for the cost of a local call. TIS National covers more than 100 languages. Call and ask for My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
Hearing or speech difficulties
Contact My Aged Care through the National Relay Service (NRS) on 1800 555 660 or www.relayservice.gov.au to choose your preferred access point.
Support for a range of diverse needs
There are programs, information and support available for older Australians of all backgrounds including:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(s)
- people from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds
- people who live in a rural and remote area
- people who are financially or socially disadvantaged
- veterans, their dependants and widows or widowers
- people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
- people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex
- people who are Care Leavers (an adult who spent time in institutional or foster care as a child)
- parents separated from their children by forced adoption or removal.
Knowing about your individual needs helps your provider deliver care and support that is appropriate and respectful of your diversity.
For more detailed information on these and a range of other topics, go to the My Aged Care website.
How do I apply to Finley Regional Care for aged care? Click here to find out.