If the need for residential aged care is nearing, following these five steps will help you make a smoother transition.
1. Get your eligibility assessed
Before you can enter an aged care facility and receive Government support, your health situation must be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).The assessors are generally health professionals such as doctors, nurses and social workers who specialise in aged care.
This is a free service that can be done at home or in a health centre or hospital. The purpose is to determine whether you are eligible to move into residential care or can access a range of care services that would enable you to stay in your home longer.
More information about ACAT assessments can be found on the Australian Government’s My Aged Care website: http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/eligibility-and-assessment/acat-assessments
2. Find a suitable facility
Once ACAT has determined whether you are eligible for residential aged care and the care services you may need, it’s a good idea to visit a few facilities. The My Aged Care website has a ‘Find a Service’ tool that enables you to locate and contact aged care homes in your preferred area.
Each facility is different, so visiting a few will help you to decide which one is the most suitable for you. Not all aged care homes will be able to meet your care needs. Also, some provide higher standards of accommodation and broader food choices, which generally come at a higher cost. These are called ‘extra services’ facilities.
While the Australian Federal Government provides some funding for residential aged care facilities, those who can afford it are expected to contribute to the cost of their care. The four different fees you may be asked to pay include:
- an accommodation payment – for your accommodation in the aged care facility, which may be paid as either a lump sum, regular instalments or a combination of lump sum and instalments
- a basic daily fee – which will usually be payable by all residents and is a contribution towards daily living costs, such as nursing, personal care and meals
- a means-tested care fee – which is an additional contribution towards the cost of care that you may need to pay depending on the assessment of your income and assets, and
- an extra services fee – which may be payable if you choose a higher standard of accommodation or additional services and it varies from place to place.
Craig at HQB Financial Solutions understands this can be a challenging time with decisions often needed to be made quickly. Craig can guide you through the process and prepare financial data to aid your assessment. Contact Craig here, to find out more.
 An Aged Care Assessment Team is referred to as an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) in Victoria. In this article a reference to ACAT, includes a reference to the Victorian ACAS.  http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/service-finders
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