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How do I apply to an aged care home?

To apply for entry into an aged care home you need to have been assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) as being eligible for residential care.

In this article:


Determining your needs

This assessment needs to be current and will indicate whether to look for low or high level care. A current ACAT assessment also means the aged care home will receive funding from the government so you can pay reduced fees.

The type of homes available in your area will largely influence what aged care home you choose. Homes that offer "extra service" places will also differ in cost and service. Familiarise yourself with aged care homes in your area, visit different organisations and get an idea of what is on offer.

Try talking to other people in similar situations or the local community. Involve your loved one in the process. You may even consider moving closer to other family members, so it may be worthwhile investigating other locations. 


Finding a suitable aged care home

It is advisable to consider applying to several aged care homes in case you do not get your first preference. To apply for entry into an aged care home you need to fill out an application form.

This application form is also available from:

  •  Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT)
  •  Residential aged care homes
  •  Commonwealth Carelink Centres 1800 052 222
  •  Aged and Community Care Information Line 1800 200 422

You can download the application form here at The Department of Health and Ageing


Applying for an aged care home

Fill out the application form and make several photocopies along with your ACAT approval form. Sign each form before sending to selected aged care homes. Remember to keep all originals. If you are applying on behalf of someone else you will need to have organised power of attorney or guardianship.

An aged care home can only offer a place when one becomes available. This decision will be influenced by other factors such as whether the home feels they can provide for a family member's care needs.

When a vacancy arises you will be notified, in some cases you will be asked to make a decision very quickly. On accepting a place you will be asked to meet with the aged care home to discuss a resident agreement. 


Seeking legal and financial advice 

At this stage it is advisable to seek good financial and legal advice. Once you have found and accepted a place at an aged care home you will be asked to sign a resident agreement.

The resident agreement is a legal agreement outlining the rights and obligations between the resident and the aged care home. A resident agreement should include details of accommodation, specify costs and fees payable and include any information about additional costs associated with a person's care.

It is a good idea to make sure you and your loved one have made legal arrangements for enduring power of attorney and enduring power of guardianship.

Another option is to have an aged care placement agency find and apply to an aged care home for you. For a fee, aged care placement agencies can help you find, choose and apply to a suitable aged care home. This service can be of great benefit to families that live far away from older family members. 


Helpful resources

  •  Talk to your local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)
  •  Arrange for an Aged Care Placement Agency to find and apply for nursing home care for you
  •  You can get help with finding and applying for aged care homes by calling the Aged and Community Care Information Line on 1800 500 853
  •  Talk to the aged care home directly
  •  Call the Commonwealth Carelink Centre 1800 052 222 



If you feel the person you care for may need nursing home care in the near future try having a family conference. Discuss likely scenarios and ensure all the family have a good understanding of how an older family member would like to live and any preferences they may have.



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