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Nursing home waitlists and finding a bed vacancy

Last Updated at August 20th 2020
Nursing homes don’t always have a place available for you straight away and it is wise to apply for more than one home to increase your chances of finding a place quickly.

Key points:

  • If you require a nursing home bed urgently, you may have less opportunity to choose a nursing home you want to move into

  • There is usually a quick turn around between being offered a bed and moving into a nursing home

  • Once you have moved into a nursing home, any other home waiting lists you are on will be dropped

Older woman waiting on the phone.
Sometimes, there may be a long wait for a bed vacancy in your chosen aged care facility. [Source: iStock]

Aged care homes cannot predict or know when a vacancy will occur, so it is important to keep in regular contact with the aged care homes to ensure they are aware you are still interested in admission to their home.

Some homes may have waiting lists and the length of these varies between homes. If your situation is urgent, please inform the staff at the home.

If you have registered as a member of you are able to search, manage and save your applications quick and easy with the use of the online Application Form in our members area.

The Application Form allows members of the Aged Care Guide to send their application details to ten facilities per day.

If a placement consultant is helping you search for a home then they will monitor vacancies for you.

Find out more about Placement Consultants.

What happens when a vacancy occurs?

The person in charge at the aged care home will either ring you, your carer or family directly, or phone the social worker if you are in hospital.

You may be asked to make a decision within hours because there are usually other people also waiting.

You, or the relevant hospital worker, will need to arrange for your transfer to the home as soon as is practicable.

If you are unable to move into a home straight away, you will be given seven days after you have agreed to accept the place to move in. This is called pre-entry leave.

From the date of acceptance of a place in a nursing home, you may be charged for your care and be eligible to receive financial assistance from the Government.

Find out more about nursing home costs.

Be aware that if you move into an aged care home that’s not your first choice, your priority on the waiting list of your preferred home will drop.

You should not be charged any fees or be expected to make any donation before you formally accept a place in an aged care home.

How do you plan to decide on what nursing home is best for you? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Getting assessed and finding the right nursing home
What costs are involved in nursing homes?
How to apply for a nursing home

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  1. Financial advisors and consultants will deal with the complex and time consuming financial issues relating to aged care

DPS Guide to Aged Care

  1. Our printed directory of all public and private nursing homes, low care facilities, community care and retirement living
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