Choosing an aged care provider is a major decision. This article is designed to help you ask the right questions so that you’re happy with your choice. If you still have questions, contact CareAbout and we can help guide you toward an option that best suits your needs.

Not all aged care providers are equal

It’s important to consider your needs before you go too deep into your research because not all aged care providers are equal. They provide different levels and types of care depending on various factors including fees charged, length of time the care is required, medical/health treatment required, eligibility for subsidy, and requirement for extra services.

There are five main types of aged care services available in Australia: home care, aged care homes, transition care, respite care and short-term restorative care. The latter three usually involve some consultation with medical practitioners, and the options are somewhat more limited than the first two, so we are going to focus on providing some advice on choosing either a Home Care provider or an Aged Care Home.

Aged Care Homes

One of the first things that will most likely baffle you as you start looking into Aged Care Homes is the terminology around fees, so let’s start there.

  • RAD stands for Refundable Accommodation Deposit. This is a bond that is paid as a lump sum when you first move in. The RAD is refunded when you leave, less any amounts you have agreed to have deducted. A different amount applies to different room types.
  • DAP stands for Daily Accommodation Payment and is a daily payment contributing to the cost of your room. It is paid fortnightly or monthly. Unlike the RAD, the DAP is not refundable. If you pay the RAD in full, you do not pay the DAP. The amount of the DAP can be reduced by paying a proportion of the RAD.
  • Daily care fee is compulsory and is set at 85% of the full Australian aged pension.
  • Means-tested fee of $245 per day may be payable dependent on your income, assets and property. However, annual and lifetime caps apply.
  • Government subsidies are provided to many Australians in aged care homes. However, it is not provided for care in all aged care homes. There are many privately funded aged care housing options that are not approved providers of aged care services funded by the government.

CareAbout can help work out the right Aged Care Home for your needs and budget and help navigate your way through the process and the tricky terminology!

When the time comes to start selecting an Aged Care Home, it is a great idea to create a checklist of questions and required information. Obviously the checklist may feature items applicable to your particular circumstances, however, here is a list of questions/information you can use as a starting point.

  • Does it appear clean on first inspection?
  • Does it have a welcoming vibe?
  • Are the people answering your questions and showing you around giving you respect, listening to you, and providing you with all the time you need to get the information you want?
  • What is the daily menu? (Make sure you also see a variety of meals being served to ensure the facility is delivering on what they are promising).
  • What assistance can family members provide e.g. can they help with bathing and eating?
  • What medical specialists and facilities are on the premises?
  • How far away are emergency medical services?
  • How often are fire and safety drills conducted?
  • How many people are on duty during the day – and at night?
  • What are the full costs involved (beware of hidden costs)?
  • Can the person house a pet in the facility?
  • What are the safety precautions re valuables?
  • Will the facility respect the person’s religious belief?
  • What are the recreational options and facilities?
  • Can family members, particularly partners, stay overnight?
  • Is there wi-fi in all area?
  • What are the visiting hours and how easy is it to organize visits outside visiting hours?
  • Do people on staff speak the same language as the person being admitted (if English is not their first language)?
  • Is there a forum for family of residents to meet and discuss concerns?
  • Are there excursions organised?
  • Does the facility offer end-of-life care?

CareAbout has a useful Aged Care Home Review Guide that you can use to guide your visits of different Aged Care Homes.

Home Care providers

Being cared for in one’s home is the preferred option for just about everyone. However, as with aged care homes, different providers provide different services for different fees.

It certainly pays to know what you want before you start asking questions. These needs can vary from having meals prepared and the home cleaned, to more extensive supervision – and everything in between.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What would make my life easier?
  • What personal help do I need?
  • What help around the house do I need?
  • How much will the care provider take in fees?
  • What do I do if something goes wrong?

One of the best things about the Australian aged care system is that the federal government’s Home Care Package Program is designed to help people live independently in their own home for as long as they can. There are four levels of home care packages and you can find out more by reading Understanding aged care fees.

Different providers provide different services for different fees … It is a great idea to create a checklist of questions and required information

Of course, receiving a Home Care Package is one thing, making the most of it is something else. For one thing, different providers can charge different levels of fees for just about the same services. CareAbout can set you up with the right provider; one that will not only meet your needs but also ensure your package is stretched as far as it can.

Here to help – at no cost to you

Choosing the right aged care provider is not something you have to do alone. CareAbout can help provide information, discuss your personal circumstances, and recommend some options, all at no cost and with no obligation. It’s the best place to start.

Choosing an aged care provider is a major decision and lots of factors must be considered. CareAbout provides you with all the information you need to make sure you are confident with your choice. Contact us on 1300 721 855.