Skip to main content Facebook Twitter
Find an aged care home for you!  
On 1300 606 781

The steps to aged care

If you have decided to move into aged care because you have recognised you can’t live safely and independently at home, then you have reached the very beginning of your aged care journey.

Last updated: January 23rd 2023
You can start looking right away for nursing homes in your area that suit your needs and preferences. [Source: Shutterstock]

You can start looking right away for nursing homes in your area that suit your needs and preferences. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points:

  • Use the Aged Care Guide’s provider search tool at the top of each page to find services in your area that fit your needs or to learn more about the aged care journey
  • The first step in getting Government funded aged care services is to register with My Aged Care
  • Before you can access any sort of aged care services you need to be assessed

You may be wondering where to start first?

Here are five simple steps that will help you get from A to B in your aged care journey.

1. Understand the sector and see what is out there

Accessing aged care can be complicated and confusing if you have not accessed aged care before or don’t know where to start.

It can be a good idea to get your head around how the aged care system works and what you will receive in aged care.

You can utilise the information available on the Aged Care Guide to help understand the aged care sector and what life may be like in a nursing home.

You can also start looking at your aged care options, including what nursing homes are available in your area that may suit your needs.

2. Contact My Aged Care

When it comes to accessing Government subsidised aged care, your first move should be to contact My Aged Care. This Government portal is the starting point for everything aged care and the only way you can access Government funded services.

You can call the contact centre on 1800 200 422 to speak with an operator or fill out an online form on the My Aged Care website.

When you contact My Aged Care, you will be asked basic questions about your health, current care needs, and other relevant information. This will help to determine what to do next, which is to organise an aged care assessment.

My Aged Care will create a client record of your initial application so they have all the relevant information about you on file. You can view or track your client record through your My Aged Care online account.

Your account will have all of your interactions with My Aged Care, your contact details, as well as your new Aged Care ID number. You will need this ID number every time you talk with My Aged Care.

3. Have an aged care assessment

Once you have registered with My Aged Care, an Aged Care Assessment Team/Service (ACAT/S) will contact you and organise an aged care assessment. They will assess your care needs, health or lifestyle concerns, and health and safety issues you are facing at home.

A representative from the ACAT/S will contact you directly to organise an assessment time at a location where you feel most comfortable, like your home.

The assessment’s are generally face to face, but due to COVID-19, and depending on your State or Territory, may be undertaken via a phone or video call.

ACAT/S representatives who will be undertaking your assessment are professionals in the medical, nursing or allied health sector.

They will ask you a lot of questions about your life, the house, issues you have difficulty with, and more. This is also a great time to ask any questions you have about care or services you would receive in an aged care home.

To learn more about the assessment, read our handy information article on the Aged Care Guide.

4. Receive approval for care

Once you have had your assessment, it may take a couple weeks until you hear back about whether you have received approval for Government subsidised aged care.

You will receive a letter from the Government letting you know if you are eligible for aged care services, including the decision for your approval and what services you can access.

This letter is important to hold on to because it contains a referral code which you need to give your provider. It will provide them with information about your needs and details of your support plan.

5. Start looking for a provider

The last step in the process is to start looking for a residential aged care provider that meets your needs, specifications and personal wishes.

You can use the provider search tool at the top of each page to search for service providers in your area that meet your requirements. Learn more about how to choose an aged care home on the Aged Care Guide.

If you aren’t comfortable finding or choosing a provider by yourself, then there are experts who can help you find a nursing home that suits your needs and preferences. A placement consultant has knowledge of local aged care facilities and can make the process of entering aged care smoother. Find a placement consultant on the Aged Care Guide.

Once you have chosen a provider, you will need to contact them to be placed on their waiting list for a bed vacancy. During this time, it can be good to discuss fees and services with your new provider, so you are prepared once a place is offered to you.

Since you can never know when a bed will become vacant at a nursing home, it can be a good idea to continue looking at other suitable aged care homes. You are also able to be on multiple waiting lists for a bed vacancy.

Once a bed becomes vacant, the facility will offer you a place which you will need to accept within hours. Read more information about waiting lists and bed vacancies on the Aged Care Guide.

What else do you want to know about accessing or navigating the aged care sector? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:
Assessment and eligibility for aged care services
Introduction to Nursing Homes
What to consider when deciding on a nursing home

  1. Your Journey:
  2. The steps to aged care


Aged Care Guide is endorsed by
COTA logo
ACIA logo
ACCPA logo