Types of Aged Care

Aged Care Services

In Australia, 'Residential Care Services' provide accommodation and support for people who can no longer live at home.  In order to enter an aged care facility a person must be assessed as needing the level of care offered. Assessment is carried out by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) from the Federal Department of Health and Ageing. The ACAT is a team of health professionals that:
  • assesses the level of care a person might require;
  • provides information about local facilities and organises respite care if necessary; and
  • may be able to arrange community care to allow a person to be cared for in their own home.

ACAT will then recommend someone:

  • have care at home
  • enter a low care (hostel accommodation); or
  • enter a high care (nursing home).
To work out the cost of care, it's important to know exactly which type of facility the person has entered, or is about to enter as each has a different cost structure.

Source: Securitor Aged Care Workbook.

Types of Care

Low Care (Hostel Accommodation)

Low-level care is for a community member who requires some help, but their ongoing care needs are not extensive or complex.

Low care has 2 key areas: 

  • Accommodation services such as furnishings, bedding, general laundry, some toiletries, cleaning services, meals, maintenance of buildings and grounds, and staff on call to provide emergency assistance if needed.
  • Personal services such as assistance with the activities associated with living a normal life, e.g. bathing, using the toilet, eating, dressing, moving around, maintaining continence or managing incontinence, rehabilitation support, and assistance in obtaining health and therapy services.
Upon entering a low care facility residents will be asked to pay an Accommodation Bond (this is a lump sum) to the provider.  The details of how this bond is calculated is specific to the aged care provider however there is legislation currently being developed that will change this.

High Care (Nursing Home)

High level care is for a community member who requires around the clock nursing care. This may be because they are physically or mentally unable care for themselves. Residents in high care must receive additional care and services as required over and above those received by low care residents.  These additional services may include:
  • goods to assist with mobility such as walkers;
  • goods to assist with toilet and incontinence management; and
  • basic toiletries such as tissues, toothpaste, denture cleaning, shampoo and talcum powder.

Upon entering a high care facility the resident may be asked to pay an Accommodation Charge (except in the case of extra service facilities, which are covered below). This daily charge fee is a legislated amount and is determined by the level of assessable assets the resident has when they enter the home.  Once determined, this charge is fixed until they are discharged from the home for a period of greater than 28 days.

Extra Service Facilities

An aged care facility (both high and low care) can be approved as an 'extra service facility' if it provides a higher standard of accommodation for residents.  These can include items such as a wider array of meal selection, better accommodation (rooms, beds, en suite), and beer or wine with meals.

An extra service facility has an additional fee arrangement with the resident called an extra-service agreement. It should specify what the home will provide at a higher standard, how much those aspects will cost, how often the extra service fees can be increased and by how much.

As this amount is determined between the resident and the facility it is specific to each individual facility.

Source: Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing; Types of care and services.

General Advice Warning: This information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, we recommend you consider, with or without the assistance of a financial adviser, whether the information is appropriate in light of your particular needs and circumstances

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