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Negotiating Fees for Residential Aged Care

Are You Paying Above What You Need to Live in Residential Aged Care?

Many older people and their families make rapid decisions when entering into a resident agreement and accommodation agreement. As a result, you can end up spending too much in aged care costs.

You or your loved one might have had a recent hospitalisation and under the advice of the discharge planner, doctor or social worker you’ve been given advice to move into residential aged care. Under such advice, you might feel the need to rush into an agreement and fail to take your time to look at your options. This is completely understandable at such a difficult time that’s full of uncertainty and change.

However if you rush into choosing an aged care home, you could enter into an agreement with an aged care provider that doesn’t suit your care needs or financial requirements.

What do You Need in Order To Enter Into Residential Aged Care?

To add to the pressures of a big move into an aged care home, there are steps that you must take first. Initially you’ll need an assessment from the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). If you haven’t already had an ACAT, the assessment may take place while you’re still an inpatient in hospital. If you’ve been discharged from hospital already, you’ll have to phone My Aged Care to arrange an assessment. All older Australians must have an ACAT assessment and be assessed as eligible to access Residential Aged Care before they can move into a nursing home.

Next, you’ll need to fill out an income and assets form from Centrelink. You can download the form online or go into a Centrelink office to get the paperwork. It’s not compulsory to fill out this form before you move into an aged care facility, however you could get a financial subsidy towards your care by doing so. If you don’t fill out the form, you could be paying fees that could be subsidised by the government. By completing the documentation before you enter into care, you’ll know from the onset what your financial contributions will be.

Once you’ve jumped through these hoops, you can search for an aged care home that’s right for you. It’s a good idea to interview several homes if you’re able to do so.

interview elderly couple

Negotiating the Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD)

The RAD is the full cost of your accommodation to live in a residential aged care facility. It’s paid as a lump sum payment, but you have up to six months to pay this from the date when you move into the aged care facility. It used to be called a bond, but it’s now referred to as the RAD. This deposit can be negotiated with some providers, and tends to depend on room availability. You could also discuss paying the accommodation periodically rather than as a lump sum payment to minimise the financial stress.

Additional Services Costs

Many aged care facilities offer extra services that they can charge you for. These services are on top of the services that the aged care home is required to provide to you. These premium extra-services fees can only be charged if they’ll directly benefit you, and if you’ll actually use these services. If services are required to be delivered by the aged care facility, they can’t be charged as a premium extra-service fee.

Types of premium services could include additional activities to partake in, better quality of meals, premium accommodation or something like Foxtel in your room. Sometimes these premium extra-service fees are very expensive and could cost you in the vicinity of an additional $500 per week on top of what your aged care fees are already.

Be really sure to research the fees schedules of the nursing homes and seek legal advice before you enter into a resident agreement with an aged care provider.

Don’t get trapped into paying more than you need to when the time comes to move into a residential aged care facility.  


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