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Characterisations of Aged Care Facilities

Nursing Homes provide various levels of personal and nursing care on a permanent basis or for a short-term stay. This type of accommodation is often referred to as an Aged Care Home but may also be called a Residential Aged Care Home, Aged Care Facility or High & Low Care Facility. All these terms are used to describe the same accommodation.

There are many nursing homes catering for different needs and interests. They can be run by private companies, church groups, charitable organisations or communities.

Some homes cater to a specific cultural and linguistic group or offer culturally appropriate services. Others offer specialist care for people with conditions such as dementia.

Government funded nursing homes:

Homes must give a certain level of service in order to be accredited. These
services include:

  • Staff continuously on call to provide emergency assistance
  • Assistance with personal care such as bathing, going to the toilet, eating and dressing
  • Support with mobility and communications
  • Help to access specialised therapy or health practitioner services
  • Support for people with cognitive impairments such as Dementia
  • Meals including special diets
  • Toiletry items
  • Beds, Mattresses, Linen, Bedside Lockers & Chairs
  • Maintenance of buildings and grounds
  • Utility costs
  • Council rates

There are other services that are not included but can be for an extra fee. Nursing homes sometimes provide their residents with additional lifestyle services and activities which may attract additional charges like a hairdresser and beautician, an onsite café and a direct phone line to the bedroom.

Extra Service Beds:

Extra Service Homes receive approval from the Australian Government to offer a higher standard of accommodation, food and services at an additional charge. The term ‘Extra Service’ refers to the standard of accommodation, meals, food and entertainment not the standard of the level of care. For instance you may
pay extra for a bigger room, a glass of wine with dinner or a greater choice of meals.

Respite Care:

Many Nursing Homes offer Respite Care. This is the opportunity for both a person and their carer to take a break for a few hours, a day, a night or a few nights. Respite Care can also be used as a way to ensure a home is a good fit before deciding to move in permanently.


The amount a resident pays for an aged care home depends on a number of things including the type of accommodation they need or have chosen. The Primary fees are:

The Basic Daily Fee – Applies to all residents and contributes towards their daily living expenses. For it a resident will receive:

  • Meals
  • Cleaning of the home and room
  • Laundry
  • Climate Control
  • Some Personal Care
  • Assistance with Daily Living
  • Some Medical Care & Pharmaceutical Services

The maximum daily fee is calculated as 85% of the Single Aged Pension which equates to $51.21 per day based on 20/03/2019 pension data.

An Accommodation Payment – The amount of the accommodation payment depends on the financial assets and annual income of the resident. The amounts vary from home to home and room to room depending on the accommodation type and features of the home.

The are various payment options available to residents to choose from:

Refundable Accommodation Payment (RAD)

  • A single payment to the aged care home similar to an interest free loan
  • Agreed Services are deducted from the RAD with most of the balance refundable when a resident leaves the home.

Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP)

  • A rental style payment calculated on a per day basis that is not refundable.
  • In this option you pay an amount, most often monthly, for your accommodation which is calculated based on a daily rate.

A Combination of the RAD & DAP.

  • You may choose to pay a smaller RAD and a larger DAP or vice versa.



Aged Care Guide –
Gen Aged Care Data –
Dementia Australia –

By Rossie Symmans