Navigating the aged care system

by | Hospital Stay FAQ, Seniors Health

navigating the aged care system

Are you an older person finding it harder or even impossible to do the things you used to do?

You may be eligible for Australian Government subsidised aged care services. There are three main levels of support available:

1. Basic help at home, to assist you with one or two activities, available through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

2. More complex help at home to assist you with multiple activities, available as a Home Care Package.

3. Care in an aged care home where help is available 24 hours a day.

Help at home may include: shopping, cooking, cleaning, transport, allied health or nursing care, modifications to your home such as hand rails and ramps, or help to shower and dress.

Short-term support is also available if you need help to recover after a hospital stay or while your carer takes a holiday.

If you’re ready to receive help, the journey below explains the basic steps you will need to go through to access Australian Government subsidised aged care services.

OPAN is currently developing a series of webinars to help you understand each step. Webinars will be available at:

More detailed information is available at: If you would like some assistance contact OPAN’s online chat service at

Or request an OPAN Aged Care advocate on 1800 700 600 between 8am – 8pm, Monday – Friday.

If you want to communicate in a language other than English, call the free Telephone Interpreter Service on 131 450 and ask them to contact OPAN.

My aged care journey

1  Start the conversation

Talk with your family and primary health care team about your preferences for your future, what you are finding more difficult and what support may help.

Start thinking about your finances. An Income Assessment may be required to work out your financial contribution. A Financial Information Service Officer at Department of Human Services can assist you on 132 300.

2  Register with my Aged Care

Phone 1800 200 422 and discuss your care needs and register.

Go to accessible-all if you have specific communication needs.

3   A care needs assessor will visit your home

If you have basic care needs you will be assessed by the Regional Assessment Service (RAS).

If you have more complex care needs you will be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), who will talk to you about your options.

The assessor will develop a support plan with you so it may be helpful to have family present.

4  Eligible services explained

If you are assessed by RAS you will be notified of your eligibility during the visit to your home.

If you are assessed by ACAT you will receive a letter after the visit to your home with the type of care you are eligible to receive.

5. Begin your aged care services

Start looking on My Aged Care for services in your area that might suit you and your needs. There could be a waiting period but you may be able to access some basic support while you wait.

6. Reassess your service requirements

If you have been assessed for aged care services and your care needs change you may request to be reassessed.

Reproduced with kind permission from OPAN (Older Persons Advocacy Network).