Step 2: Find

Find a home that suits your personal needs

If your ACAT has confirmed your eligibility to access residential aged care, the next step is finding a care home that meets your needs. This is often the most stressful part for families, however, with many homes in most states across Australia, it’s very likely there’s an Opal care home in your area. Just call us on 1300 362 481 and our experienced team will talk to you about your needs and what we have available in your area. If we’re unable to accommodate you within Opal, we’ll do our best to help you locate an alternative provider.

Applying to aged care homes

Once you have received your ACAT assessment, you can begin applying to as many care homes as you wish, but once you accept a place, it’s important that you let the other homes know that you no longer require their services.

Visiting an aged care home

Visiting a range of homes is often one of the best ways to decide which home suits your needs. To help you assess the suitability of the homes you visit, we have attached a short checklist at the end of this section. This will help you assess each home and ask some important questions to the providers you meet with.

If you’re considering an Opal care home, here are some of the services we provide:

A range of care options including respite, dementia-support, permanent care, and palliative care. Many Opal Homes also offer day respite.

  • High-quality person-centred care with a focus on meeting your individual needs.
  • A qualified nursing team on-site at all times to attend to your clinical and emergency needs.
  • Fresh meals prepared and cooked in the home kitchen by our dedicated qualified chef.
  • Assistance with daily living including bathing, dressing, and eating.
  • Access to a range of other health services including physiotherapy, podiatry, optometry and dental.
  • Medication management provided on-site.
  • Individually tailored social and recreational activities to bring joy and meaning to your days.
  • On-site laundry service and Opal cleaning services (not outsourced).
  • Private and companion bedrooms with basic furnishings included.

 

Some things to consider when you visit a home:

Standards and quality

  • Is the home accredited by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission?

 

First impressions

  • Are the buildings and grounds well maintained and is there access to outdoor space?
  • Does the team seem friendly and welcoming?

 

Location and accessibility

  • Are family and friends able to get there easily?
  • Are there enough parking spaces at the home?
  • Is the home close to amenities such as shops and parks?
  • Is there sufficient wheelchair access into the home and within the home?

 

Care team

  • Does the team know much about the residents’ lives and experiences?
  • Is the team trained to care for residents living with dementia?
  • How well does the team communicate with residents and relatives?

 

Care

  • How can you, your family or representatives, be involved in your care?
  • What training and qualifications does the care team have?
  • If your care needs change, will you be able to stay in the home?
  • What other health professionals visit the home regularly?

 

Accommodation, meals, and routines

  • Is there provision for married couples and for single residents?
  • How is room allocation determined – can you have your say?
  • Are the bathrooms shared or are there private bathrooms?
  • What are the meal arrangements? Times, meals for visitors, meals in your room, culturally diverse menus and special diets?
  • Is there a chef on-site to prepare and cook all the meals?
  • Is there a choice of food and how often does the menu change?
  • Are snacks available during the day and night?
  • Does the home allow you to keep pets or can pets visit?
  • Will you be able to continue to see your own doctor?

 

Social and lifestyle engagement

  • Are residents encouraged to stay active and do as much as they can for themselves?
  • Do the residents seem happy and occupied?
  • Are team members sitting and chatting with residents?
  • Are there amenities such as a common room, TV room, newspapers, books, and hairdressing services?
  • Are there regular social activities such as music, exercise classes, gardening, celebrations, bus outings?
  • Can family, friends and young children visit without restriction?
  • Are there team members who speak your language?

 

Final thoughts

  • How would you rate the home you visited on a scale of 1 to 10?

5 Steps into Residential Aged Care

Start exploring Opal Homes today

Find a home

Commonly asked questions about Aged Care

  • Once you have received your ACAT assessment, you can begin applying to as many care homes as you wish, but once you accept a place, it’s important that you let the other homes know that you no longer require their services.

  • Visiting a range of homes is often one of the best ways to decide which home suits your needs. To help you assess the suitability of the homes you visit, we have attached a short checklist at the end of this section. This will help you assess each home and ask some important questions to the providers you meet with.

  • The Department of Human Services (DHS) is the body that determines your financial situation. To do this, DHS conducts a Combined Income and Assets Assessment, which is a form that you need to complete and submit to the government.

  • Respite care is short-term care, including day respite, to provide your caregivers a break from caring when they need it. It can be planned or on an emergency basis and can be used for up to 63 days in a financial year. Many care homes offer day respite, which offers caregivers some flexibility to attend to personal needs and obligations as they arise.

  • The Combined Income and Assets Assessment form (SA457) is an extensive questionnaire with over 140 questions about what you and your partner/spouse own and earn. It’s important to understand that you are considered to own half your assets with your partner/spouse regardless of who holds the title to the assets. As part of your assessment, you will be asked to provide details of all assets owned by both of you.

  • Accommodation Charge (the cost of your room) - These are set by individual homes and varies from home to home

    • Basic Daily Care Fee (meals, laundry, cleaning and other day-to-day costs) – These are set by the Australian Government and is the same across every home in Australia.
    • Means-Tested Care Fee (to supplement the cost of your overall care) - These are set by the Australian Government based on an assessment of your personal financial situation.
    • Additional Services Fee or Extra Services Fee - (higher-end services and accommodation) These are set by individual homes and varies from home to home.In some homes, Additional Services or Extra Services are optional and in other homes, residents are required to purchase these services as a condition of entry

    For further information download our 5 step guide.