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General Aged Care

What is a Residential Aged Care Facility?

A Residential Aged Care Facility provides accommodation and support for those who can no longer manage on their own and need more assistance on a daily basis.

How do I know if I should move into a Residential Aged Care Facility?

This is not an easy decision. Discuss what you should do with someone who respects your situation and knows you well. This could be a family member or your local doctor or a trusted friend. Or alternatively you could come and see us at Pioneer House and we could assist you.

What is the process?

To live in an aged care facility, a person must consult with and be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) to establish the level of care required. For more information you can call Aged Care Access Centre directly on 1800 942 433. Essentially the steps to moving into Aged Care are:

  • ACAT assessment
  • Find a Residential Aged Care Facility that suits your needs and requirements
  • Make an appointment with your chosen facility to discuss your entry to the Residential Aged Care Facility
  • Complete entry pack
  • Entry into Residential Aged Care Facility

You may like to talk to your family doctor or other health providers as well.

What is an ACAT Assessment?

An ACAT assessment is an evaluation by a member of ACAT who is a health care professional in the area of seniors care. ACAT is responsible for deciding who is eligible for placement in an aged care facility. The assessment involves investigating a person’s mental, physical and social situation.

You may have someone with you during the assessment, such as a carer or family member. If you wish, you may instruct your doctor to provide your medical history to the ACAT representative. The assessment is provided by the Government free of charge.

Once you have made an appointment, a member of your local ACAT will visit you in your home or in hospital to assess your needs. The ACAT person will talk with you about what services you may need. It is really important that you tell the ACAT member of all of your needs, so the assessment can be accurate, as this provides for a smoother transition to an aged care facility.

He or she will discuss the result of the assessment with you and arrange referrals to community care services or a place in residential care, if this is appropriate.

You may contact Aged Care Access Centre directly: Call the Commonwealth Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 for contact details for your local ACAT, or the Aged Care Information Line on 1800 500 853.

What should I consider when choosing a Residential Aged Care Facility?

The following things should be considered:

  • Type of accommodation available and the type you need,
  • Recommendation of friends or family
  • Access to and from the facility
  • Proximity to my community, family and friends
  • Ageing-in-Place

What if I only need care for a short time?

At Pioneer House we can provide accommodation solutions for both permanent residents and short-term residents. Respite care is available and people assessed by ACAT are entitled to 63 days of respite per financial year.

How do I apply for Residential Aged Care?

Before you can apply for Residential Aged Care, you will need to have an ACAT assessment. (See “What is an ACAT Assessment”)

When you have your approval for care confirmed contact the facility you wish to enter and make an appointment to discuss entering care

Can I apply to more than one aged care facility?

You can apply to as many aged care facilities as you wish. When a place becomes available, the aged care facility will contact you (or the contact person that you have nominated). If you wish to accept the place, you should then meet with the facility’s manager to discuss your Resident Agreement.


What level of care can I receive?

There are two types of care that are offered by Pioneer House:

  • Permanent Residential Care
  • Respite Care

Care is designed for residents who need some help with their day to day activities. For example, they can move or walk on their own but they may have trouble with domestic duties, or bathing or the rigors of looking after themselves and their home. These residents can benefit from the expert care offered by our well-trained staff and the beautiful home-like atmosphere at Pioneer House’s facilities.

We can also provide support for people who require around the clock, 24 hour nursing care to assist with all daily activities. This may be because they are physically incapacitated or suffer from physical or behavioural problems.

Respite: Pioneer House provides respite care services to help carers to take breaks from their caring. Flexible dementia specific respite is also provided for carers of people with dementia and challenging behaviour. The maximum number of respite days available to anyone in a Residential Aged Care Facility is 63 days per year.

Dementia Care: Dementia is a general term used to describe problems with memory and thinking. The early signs of dementia can be very subtle and may not be immediately obvious. Common symptoms are:

• Memory loss, particularly recent memory
• Confusion
• Personality change
• Withdrawal
• Loss of ability to do everyday tasks

There are different forms of dementia and each has its own causes, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common. Dementia affects brain cells and is progressive and irreversible. Residents with dementia differ in the patterns of problems they have, and the speed with which their abilities deteriorate. Dementia can happen to anybody, but is more common over the age of 65.

For more information about Dementia contact your doctor, or telephone the Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 (free call)

Allied Health: Pioneer House’s facilities provide allied health services including physiotherapy, podiatry, dietetics, continence services and diversional therapy and can arrange speech therapists or occupational therapists.

What kind of personal care can I expect to receive?

At Pioneer House residents can expect the very best care available, from expertly trained, compassionate professional people who love what they do.  Care will be tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual.

What is Ageing-in-Place?

Pioneer House provides ageing-in-place. It enables Pioneer House to deliver continuity of appropriate care within a familiar environment – without the need for a disruptive or disturbing relocation. Occasionally we may ask a resident to move from one room to another to ensure that we can continue to provide the best care.

What leisure activities are available?

With our culture placing more emphasis on health and well being, our facilities have developed programs of moderate physical activity specifically designed for older or special needs groups. For example, falls prevention program, diversional therapy and excursions. We provide a broad range of activities to cater to as many tastes as possible. Individual leisure programs ensure our activities are person centred.


What are the standards for staff working in Aged Care Facilities?
All Aged Care Facilities are subject to an Accreditation process regulated by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and all staff must pass a series of compulsory checks to work within our facility. In addition, all Residential Aged Care Facilities are subject to random spot checking by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.  Staff are chosen because of their appropriate skills and their caring and approachable nature.


What could I be charged?

Residents in aged care can be asked to make two types of payment.

  • Daily care fees contribute towards your daily living costs, such as nursing and personal care, meals, linen and laundry, as well as heating and cooling. These have two parts:
    • A basic daily care fee, that all residents are required to pay.
    • An additional income and assets -tested fee for residents who are able to pay.
  • Accommodation fees contribute towards the cost of your accommodation. You may be required to contribute to the cost of accommodation, or if your assets exceed an amount set by the Australian Government pay the full accommodation cost. This Accommodation Payment is agreed with the facility upon or prior to entry and will be in the form of:
    • A Refundable Accommodation Deposit
    • Or
    • A Daily Accommodation Payment
    • or
    • Or combination of Refundable Accommodation Payment and Daily Accommodations Payment

Only Residential Aged Care Facilities that are certified by the Government as meeting required standards of accommodation can charge accommodation payments.

Your assets as assessed by Centrelink or DVA will determine if you will be charged accomodation fees. The My Aged Care website is available to help you determine possible fees.

You will need to complete a Permanent Resident Aged Care Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment.

How much will it cost to become a resident at Pioneer House?

It is important that you discuss the cost of your accommodation and services with the CEO/Director of Nursing. Pioneer House sets a maximum price for single rooms and double rooms.

Where do I find out about costs?

Understanding costs can be daunting but it is no less important. The best thing to do is have a chat with your accountant or financial adviser. You can also contact our CEO/Director of Nursing for more specific information. It is important to note that you can receive advice from financial planners who specialise in the aged care sector.  You can also use My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au) to help you understand these costs for care.

What is a Refundable Accommodation Deposit?

Your assets as assessed by Centrelink or DVA will determine if you will be charged accomodation fees. The My Aged Care website is available to help you determine possible fees.

You will need to complete a Permanent Resident Aged Care Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment.

Payment Options

There are four options between which you can choose, to pay your accommodation fees

1. Pay a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) in full within 6 months of entering the facility.


2. Pay a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP). The DAP is calculated as a daily amount paid by you for the duration of your stay at Pioneer House and is not refundable. The DAP is calculated at Maximum Permissible Interest Rate of the RAD divided by 365 (days per year)


3. Pay a part Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) and part Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP). The DAP will be calculated on the unpaid RAD as above and will be paid in addition to the part RAD


Pay a part Refundable Accommodation Deposit and have your Daily Accommodation Payment drawn down from your paid RAD. NOTE: each payment drawn down from the RAD reduces the amount of RAD you have paid, so your DAP will increase each month to make up for this. If you do not pay a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) on your date of entry (e.g. if you have to sell your house) you will be charged a Daily Accommodation Payment.
Refundable Accommodation Deposit can only be charged by aged care facility that meets the Accreditation Standards

What are Daily Accommodation Payments?

Residents’ can choose to pay a Daily Accommodation Payment instead of a Refundable Accommodation Deposit.

The Amount of the Accommodation Deposit is multiplied by the Maximum Permissible Interest Rate (as set by the Federal Government) and divided by 365, which will give you the daily amount that you will pay for your entire stay at our facility.

How much is the Refundable Accommodation Deposit?

Pioneer House’s maximum Refundable Accommodation Deposit amounts are published on the My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au).  It is important you discuss your specific situation with the team at Pioneer House.

How does the Refundable Accommodation Deposit affect my basic daily care fee?

Your Refundable Accommodation Deposit does not affect your the basic daily care fee payable by you.

What about my home?

If you enter aged care on or after 1 July 2014, the value of your assets, which may include your home, will be used in the calculation of your ongoing care fees.

What are my payment options?

Your payment options are:

  • Refundable Accommodation Deposit;
  • Daily Accommodation Payment); or
  • Combination of the two.

If you pay Refundable Accommodation Deposit you have up to six months pay the full amount. Until you pay the Refundable Accommodation Deposit, you will be charged a Daily Accommodation Payment which is not refundable.

You have 28 days following admission to make a decision on how you will pay your accommodation fees ie: RAD, DAP or a combination of the two.

How do Refundable Accommodation Deposits affect pensions?

The Government’s free Financial Information Service, which is available through Centrelink to all older people, can give you information about these effects. You can make an appointment with the Financial Information Service by calling 13 23 00 or you can contact an independent financial adviser.

What are the safeguards for residents?

You have 28 days post admission to decide how you will pay for your accommodation payments. You must notify the facility in writing as to how you wish to pay.

Additional Information

What is guardianship?

You may elect to appoint an Enduring Guardian who can step in and make decisions if you become incapacitated. It is important to discuss with this person your wishes, so that they can act on your behalf.

If you have not arranged for someone to be your guardian, in the event that you are unable to make decisions about your personal affairs, a guardian may be appointed by a State or Territory Government to act on your behalf.

A guardian is generally appointed when, after your health professional and/or friends or family present evidence before a board or tribunal, it is found that without an appointed guardian to manage your personal affairs, you pose a significant personal risk to yourself.

Where can I get more information?

There are numerous services designed to provide you with the latest information. These include:

  • Your local doctor
  • Local hospital
  • Health centre
  • The Commonwealth Carelink Centre (phone 1800 052 222)
  • My Aged Care (www.myagedcare.gov.au phone 1800 200 422)

Should I consider a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints someone else (the attorney) to act on your behalf regarding matters of money and property even if you become incapable of understanding. You can get advice about preparing a power of attorney from a solicitor, a community legal centre, a state trustee company or your local magistrate’s court. It is important to appoint an Enduring Power of Attorney, who can step in and manage your finances if you become incapacitated.