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Residential care

3-minute read

What is residential care?

Residential care refers to the care and services you receive when you are living in a care facility, including aged care homes. Residential care is provided by Australian Government-approved organisations to give you the care you need.

Why might I need residential care?

You might consider residential care because:

  • you might not be able to get out and about easily
  • you may live on your own and want some extra company
  • you may need help due to illness or disability
  • you might need palliative (end-of-life) care

You might still live in your own home with help from a carer, but need a short-term residential care stay while your carer has a break. This is called residential respite care and it can be on a planned or emergency basis.

How can I access residential care?

You will need an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT, or ACAS in Victoria) to access government-subsidised residential care. These assessments are free. Your doctor can advise you how to contact your local ACAT. Alternatively, visit the My Aged Care website, or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

How much will it cost?

The Australian Government pays the majority of aged care costs in Australia, but you will probably be asked to contribute towards the cost of your residential care if you can afford it.

Aged care homes may charge a number of fees, such as:

  • a contribution to expenses such as meals, laundry, heating and cooling, nursing and personal care - this is known as a basic daily care fee
  • an extra contribution based on an assessment of your income and assets - this is known as a means-tested care fee
  • an accommodation payment - the Government may contribute to this, depending on your income and assets
  • fees for extra services which you request

There are rules in place to make sure everyone receives the care they need.

To find out what you may need to pay for your residential care, or to request an Assets and Income Assessment form and information booklet, go to the My Aged Care website or call 1800 200 422.

Caring for someone else

If you are caring for someone and decide that they need some form of residential care, you will face many issues that may be unsettling. It's never an easy decision, but support is available.

Remember, there are still many ways to help care for relatives or friends living in residential care. The My Aged Care website has a fact sheet about caring for someone in an aged care home.

And remember, respite care may be available in the short term.

For further information contact the Carer Advisory Service on 1800 242 636, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, or go to the My Aged Care website.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2018

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