Extra Services, Premium Services and Additional Services in Aged Care explained

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

Aged care 10 signs your parents need help

You are no doubt concerned about your loved one facing unnecessary struggles, so it makes good sense to be proactive in getting help. Here are some signs that a senior needs help.

  1. Driving Risks

If your loved one has vision, hearing or reflex impairment, this could increase their risk of car accidents.

  1. Medical Conditions

A newly diagnosed injury or illness may affect your loved one’s capabilities to function normally each day.

  1. Personal Hygiene

When you visit, note the overall appearance and hygiene of your loved one. They should be wearing clothing that is suitable for the weather. Their laundry should be done, and their towels and bed linens should be clean. If it is not, they need help.

  1. Nutrition and Food

Check into the diet of your ageing loved one to make sure that they are eating nutritious foods. If your loved one’s weight is not steady or the food in the refrigerator is expired, they certainly need some help.

  1. Completing Daily Tasks

Your loved one should be doing grocery shopping and preparing good meals. If this becomes overly challenging, it’s time to contact Home Instead Senior Care Outer East.

  1. Suitable Behaviour

Does your ageing loved one seem depressed, irritable or anxious? Do they have difficulty in remembering names, current events or places?

  1. Taking Care of Finances

Your aged relative should be capable of managing their own personal finances, including the timely payment of bills and balancing their check book.

  1. Medication Needs

Can your loved one manage their medications properly? This includes taking the proper dose at the right time. They should also have refills when they are due.

  1. Checking the Mail

If your relative has mail stacking up, this can indicate that they are not able to keep up with it. Check for delinquency or past due notices.

  1. Safety Concerns

Your ageing loved one needs to extinguish cigarettes or candles, and turn off appliances when they are done using them. Windows and doors should be kept locked.

This article has been supplied by Home Instead Senior Care, an organisation that provides home help for people who need it.  Thanks to Suzan McLoughlin of Home Instead who authored this article.  More about Home instead can be found here:


Until next time

Margaret and Sara


Happiness in your new (aged care) home

How to make a successful transition to aged care

Most people are reluctant to enter into aged care; they have gone into care because their doctor or family has told them they have no choice.  So how do you make the best of it and ensure that the stay is successful?

The Aged Care Complaints Scheme, the Australian Government body established to help resolve complaints about aged care services has recently published in its Complaint Spotlight the importance of effective communication, especially in the pre admission interview, as key to establishing good relationship with both the resident and the resident’s family.  You can read more here:


Most interesting in that article is the recognition that it can be very difficult for the person who has been caring for the resident before entry to hand over care to the facility.  So the facility needs to ensure that not only the resident is cared for but the former carer feels comfortable that the resident is being properly looked after.  And that is all about communication between the carer and the facility.

Here are some tips for carers:

1. The hardest part is the first few weeks whilst the facility is getting to know your loved one. If you can, visit or call often to find out how your loved one is doing. Ask your loved one if there are any issues. Then speak to the nurse or manager about those issues. Remember that they are getting to know your loved one and they may need some help from you.
2. Don’t keep issues to yourself! Make sure you raise any issues or concerns with the the manager of the facility or the nurse or senior staff in the facility.
3. If you have any questions, ask. If you are not satisfied with the answer, speak to the facility manager or the nurse in charge or a senior member of staff.
4. Make sure yo tell the staff in the facility what you want to know about your loved one. Some families want to know everything and some do not

Remember that it takes some time to settle in.

Until next time

Margaret and Sara

Call us on 1800 744 676 for an obligation free chat if you need help with aged care contact us today.

“I promised I would look after Mum at home”

On Monday July 13th there was a talkback session on ABC 774 talking about moving loved ones in to aged care.  This can be a highly emotional time and one of the toughest decisions to make for spouses, partners, friends and children.  We often hear “I promised Mum I would look after her and never put her in to a home”.  As much as we would all like to keep our promises the changing reality of the situation and changing health needs often prevent this happening.

We have seen many primary carers working full time in the role of carer.  They are on call 24/7 with providing personal care, administering medications, assisting with mobilisation or keeping loved ones under a watchful eye if the person they are caring for wanders.  It is exhausting getting up at night and the reality of not having any down time.  We often see the carer’s health deteriorating which forces their hand to seek help which is often in the way of moving the person they care for in to residential aged care.

Guilt is the word most commonly expressed by carers and families.  We spend a lot of time talking with carers commending them for what a great job they have done by supporting the aged person in their life at home which without them would not have been possible.  It is important for carers to see that the relationship can become that of a carer , making one wonder what happened to being a husband, wife, mother, father etc.

Even though it is a very difficult time and it is hard to make the decision to move in to an aged care facility there are often many benefits.  Instead of the carer’s time being spent showering, dressing, preparing meals, sorting medication etc. they are now free to spend quality time together such as relaxing over a cup of tea, watching a movie together or taking a stroll.  The carer often finds renewed energy and is able to take back up hobbies that may have put aside whilst being a full time carer.  Also we often see the general health of the new resident improve with regular nutritious meals, stimulation from activities and company and help with maintaining day to day care needs.

Do not get me wrong it is not easy, time needs to be allowed for readjusting to the new situation, some people may feel lonely having lost the job of carer or sharing a home with someone.  This needs to be recognised by family and friends to help the carer adjust just as the new resident to aged care will need this support.

If you are facing this decision, give us a call, we can assist with the transition.


Until next time

Margaret and Sara

Retirement Living Part 3 – Transitioning to an aged care residential facility

Moving to an Aged Care Facility

The time will come when a moving to an aged care residential facility (ACRF) will be necessary. This event may occur when a retirement village resident’s care needs increase to a degree that the retirement village environment and the home supports are not adequate to ensure safety for the individual or maintain a quality of life.

Aged Care Residential Facility Considerations

1.  When moving to an aged care residential facility or ACRF, admission requires an Aged Care Assessment to be done.  The Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) will visit you at home to complete the assessment.

To find your local ACAS service visit myagedcare website, at the bottom of the page you will find a selection Find your local Aged Care Assessment Team.  This page will also explain the role of the ACAS.

2. You then need to organise tours of facilities in the location you would like to live. Refer to our blog post – What to look for when choosing an Aged Care Residential Facility.  When moving to an aged care residential facility, once you decide on a facility you would like to live you need to complete the application paperwork and if there are no vacancies then place your name on a waiting list.

3.  You will need to complete a Permanent Residential Aged Care Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment which determines part of the fees and charges, the form can be found through this Human Services link.

4. Fees and charges for Aged Care need to be understood when moving to an aged care residential facility.I f you are required to pay an accommodation payment there are options for funding this and the total amount of the accommodation payment can often be negotiated.

5.  You will need to downsize when moving to an aged care residential facility, usually the ACRF supplies a bed, chest of drawers and chair but this will vary.  You are welcome to take in furniture, pictures etc for your room. Some ACRF offer suites with a sitting room and bedroom with or without a kitchenette so more furniture can be taken in.

6.  You will be asked to sign a legal document a Resident Agreement and it is advisable to have this reviewed by a lawyer.

7.  On the day of moving, have a relative or friend with you to assist with settling in and helping with paperwork.

* Remember to give notice in writing to your Retirement Village, refer to our last blog “Retirement Living Part 2 – financial matters when moving to aged care.”

It is a complex process to navigate so if you require assistance Signpost can organise the placement from beginning to end.

Until next time.

Sara and Margaret