About residential aged care

Residential aged care is for senior Australians who can no longer live independently at home. The Australian Government funds residential aged care to make it more affordable and accessible. Learn about residential aged care, why it’s important and how to become an approved provider.

What is residential aged care?

Residential aged care is for senior Australians who can no longer live in their own home.

It includes accommodation and personal care 24 hours a day, as well as access to nursing and general health care services.

We subsidise aged care homes to provide residential care to eligible people.

To find out who is eligible, go to aged care homes on the My Aged Care website.

Why is residential aged care important?

We know that older people in Australia want to live in their own home as they age.

When this is no longer possible, it’s important they have options to receive the care they need.

We subsidise residential aged care to make sure all older people can access this type of aged care.

Who is residential aged care for?

A person must be approved as a resident before they can enter subsidised residential aged care.

An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will approve a care recipient. People can apply for an assessment through My Aged Care.

What are the goals of residential aged care?

Residential aged care provides accommodation and care to older people so they can maintain their health and wellbeing.

How will residential aged care meet these goals?

Aged care homes provide accommodation and help with:

  • day-to-day tasks — such as cleaning, cooking and laundry
  • personal care — such as bathing, dressing and going to the toilet
  • access to health practitioner services, clinical care and therapies
  • other services — such as social and emotional support, and entertainment

All government-funded aged care homes must be approved providers and meet quality standards.

What does residential aged care cost?

Costs of living in residential aged care vary.

There are costs that are the same for all residents. For example, a basic daily fee.

There are costs that are based on a resident’s means and that are determined by Services Australia. For example, a means tested care fee or an accommodation contribution.

There are costs based on a resident’s means that are then agreed between a provider and a resident. For example, an agreed room price.

Each home sets and publishes its own room prices for different kinds of rooms up to a refundable deposit of $550,000 (or the equivalent daily payment).

You must apply to the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority to set a price higher than the maximum, or to renew your approval. Approval lasts 4 years from the approval date.

My Aged Care has information for residents on:

Approved providers can read more about:

Who provides residential aged care services?

Approved providers run Australian Government-subsided aged care homes.

Senior Australians can search for aged care homes, short-term and respite care on My Aged Care.

Who oversees residential aged care?

The Department of Health approves applications for approved providers under the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) to deliver residential aged care.

We allocate places and capital grants to providers through the Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR).

We subsidise and develop policy for residential aged care under the Act.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission assesses the services to make sure providers meet quality standards.

Residential aged care funding reform

The Australian Government wants to improve the way we work out residential aged care funding.

We aim to:

  • make funding for residential aged care fairer and more stable
  • improve the assessment process for funding, so it’s more accurate
  • free up resources so aged care workers can spend more time delivering safe and effective care that meets residents’ needs and goals while optimising health and wellbeing
  • boost innovation in residential aged care

Read more about what’s happening in residential aged care funding reform.

Residential respite care

Residential respite care is short-term care provided in an aged care home. It can be on a planned or emergency basis. Respite gives a carer or care recipient a break from their usual care arrangements.

An ACAT assesses and approves care recipients to access respite care.

Approved residents are entitled to 63 days of subsidised respite care each financial year. They can apply for an extension of up to 21 days.

Date last updated:

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