Understanding the Aged Care Application Process
Placing an elderly loved one into aged care is without a doubt one emotionally charged decision most families will have to face at some point or another.
Despite many elderly Australians wishing to remain in the familiar surrounds of their family home, not to mention the sentimental pull this special place holds, there comes a time when their lack of mobility and health issues mean residential aged care accommodation is the only realistic option. Fortunately, for families who have made this big decision to seek aged care accommodation for a loved one, the process of placing them into care is clearly defined with multiple resources available along the way. It’s also a big benefit to all parties involved that the federal government heavily subsidises aged care accommodation on a means-tested basis, giving broad access to this important service across the Australian community.
So how does the aged care application process work? Keep reading for this handy guide from the experts at Japara:
Step 1: Deciding to make the transition into aged care
The first and most difficult step in the aged care application process is deciding your loved one needs to be placed into an aged care home in the first place. Many people understandably struggle with making this decision, however when your elderly loved one can no longer take care of themselves, is unable to complete simple daily tasks without assistance or they lose their mobility altogether, the time has arrived to seriously consider professional care options.
Step 2: Exploring your aged care options
Step two is to explore the various aged care options available to your loved one, which doesn’t necessarily mean traditional 24 hour residential care. The most common options include:
Ideal for elderly individuals who need some help maintaining their
independence (such as doing their grocery shopping or cleaning their room etc) but who don’t have complex health issues, low care will allow your loved one to largely continue their daily life as normal.
The traditional idea of aged care most people have, high care involves the elderly living in a residential facility under 24 hour care from qualified aged care nurses who help residents complete basic daily tasks, including eating, toilet and personal hygiene, incontinence management and other activities.
Dementia Specific Care
Designed specifically for the elderly with a dementia-related condition, dementia specific care is available across many Japara homes. Our Memory Support Units are staffed by skilled nurses specially trained to manage dementia patients.
An alternative to all the above residential aged care accommodation options, respite care involves placing someone in an aged care facility on a short term basis. This option is ideal for carers who wish to take a short break or holiday from their duties or for the elderly who have just returned from hospital and require closer supervision until they return to full health.
Step 3: Applying for an ACAT assessment
Having made the difficult decision to place an elderly loved one in aged care accommodation and having discussed this decision at length with the loved one in question, the third step is to request a free ACAT assessment from the federal government (or ACAS in Victoria). ACAT/ACAS assessments can be requested through the My Aged Care website or by calling 1800 200 422 and are generally conducted at local hospitals or the family home by local healthcare professionals to determine eligibility for government-funded aged care services.
Step 4: Conducting tours of aged care homes; selecting the right home for you
Following completion of the ACAT/ACAS assessment, your local assessment team will be able to provide you and your loved one with a list of nearby aged care facilities with vacant beds. Armed with this list, you can then contact each facility individually and request a free tour to inspect their amenities and services. A few things to consider before making your final choice include: how far is the facility from your own home? How close is the facility to your loved one’s social networks and what features do they have that will make your loved one’s stay as comfortable as possible? Having listed the pros and cons of each facility, the next step is to make your final choice(s) – which you do by completing an official application form with the relevant facilities. If successful, the facility will send you a Resident Agreement form which is a formal agreement between yourself and the aged care provider outlining all relevant information including fees, services, personalised care plans, rights & responsibilities etc.
Step 5: Moving in
After accepting an offer of aged care accommodation from your preferred provider, the final step is to arrange the logistics of your loved one’s relocation to their new home. Like moving from one house to another, the process of moving into an aged care facility involves informing relevant parties of the move (including family, friends, neighbours, doctors etc) before packing belongings and transporting to the new location. Speaking to the facility manager is a good idea and they can usually suggest a quieter time of day for the move to occur, also ensuring staff are available to help out. It goes without saying keeping your elderly loved one calm during the move is paramount, perhaps by another family member keeping them company whilst others take care of the actual logistics on the day.
Keen to learn more about the aged care application process or Japara in general? Give us a call today on 1800 52 72 72 for a chat with one of our friendly staff members who can answer any questions you have. Otherwise be sure to read our concise Step by Step Guide for more information!