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Aged care – making the right choice


Ladies profile

Anyone considering the use of aged care facilities in Australia can be overwhelmed by the range of options available and the associated rules and guidelines. Given that this decision is usually emotionally charged, here is a brief outline of some of the options to make it a bit easier.

Eligibility to access publicly-funded aged care services is established following an assessment by a representative from the relevant state’s Aged Care department.

There are three categories offering various levels of services:

1. Assisting a person to stay at home

Home Care Level 1 - supporting people with basic care needs.

Home Care Level 2 - for those who need low level care.

Home Care Level 3 - supporting people with intermediate care needs.

Home Care Level 4 - for those requiring higher levels of care.

Consumer Directed Care - Consumers and their carers have control over the types of care and services they access as part of their Home Care Packages, including who will deliver the services and when.

2. Care required on a short-term basis

Respite Care is for those who need some time out from being at home, and who feel they would benefit from a short-term stay in a care facility. After assessment, the charges will depend on the level and frequency of services accessed.

Transition Care Programs provide personal and allied health care (eg. physiotherapy) in the person’s home or live-in setting for a period of up to 18 weeks. An assessment is required. A fee may be charged to contribute to the cost of care depending on the circumstances.

3. Care required through an Aged Care home

A single level of care is provided by all residential aged care facilities. Care recipients have the option of paying an upfront refundable deposit or a rent-style periodic payment. Importantly, aged care providers are unable to choose care recipients on the basis of how they pay for their accommodation. The Choice of Payment Method period means that residents do not need to decide how they intend to pay for their accommodation until they have actually entered care.

Aged care is a valuable yet complex system designed to support our most vulnerable citizens to help them live comfortably and safely with dignity and respect.

For more information on this important topic, visit the Department of Human Services website www.myagedcare.gov.au or phone 1800 200 422.

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