If you are looking for an aged care residential facility for you or a family member, you may have come across a facility or two that charges and extra service, premium service or additional service fee (or another name) but others that do not. So what does this mean?
The first thing to note is that a facility that charges these fees is not necessarily better than one that does not. These fees do not relate to the quality of the care that is provided and there are many excellent facilities that do not charge them. Items or services that are usually included in the fees include wine with meals, a choice of meals, hairdressing or nice paintings on the wall. They are often things that can be purchased as you need or want them. The amount of the fee is set by the facility and is usually changed on a daily basis. They are most commonly mandatory if you accept a bed in the facility meaning that you cannot opt not to have the additional services even if you are very unlikely to use them. They range from $20 per day up to around $80 per day so they can be a significant cost so it is worth understanding what is included in those fees. The facility should provide you with a list of the items or services that are included in the fee.
‘Extra service’ fees are regulated by the federal government so the extra services are fixed and the facility does not have a lot of flexibility to change them. So, many facilities have moved away from extra service fees to fees under a different name which are not so regulated so may be altered from time to time. In addition, extra service fees are required to be disclosed on the facility website or on the myagedcare.com.au website but premium or additional service fees are not (or, at the time of publishing this post in August 2015, they are not). So it may not be evident until you actually speak to someone at the facility. But, to the resident and the family, they are essentially an additional cost.
Whilst it is ultimately a matter of choice and affordability, you should understand the alternatives when looking at facilities.
Until next time
Sara and Margaret