Category: aged care legal

I think it’s time mum or dad got some help

Welcome to 2017.  Many of us will have seen our parents over the summer break and noticed that things don’t seem to be going that well at home for them any more.  Maybe it is time to start looking for help.

Your parents may have been coping on their own for many years, but you might have noticed  some things recently that make you worry. Their increasing forgetfulness, the state of their home or their frailty may be starting to worry you.  If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to start thinking and talking about aged care.

This is a big decision in your mum or dad’s life, so it’s important you start talking to them about their options as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may find you need to make the decision in a rush after an adverse health event and that means they will probably have to compromise.

Your parents may be able to cope better with help at home and that can often be enough to give the family peace of mind and help parents come to terms with getting older and needing help.  They might be considering moving into a smaller home and are thinking of a retirement village or an aged care facility.

The transition to aged care isn’t straightforward.  Understanding the options and knowing where to start is often confusing and difficult.

That’s where Signpost comes in.  We can help you understand the options so you can make an informed choice and we can manage the whole transition for you including helping you to select the best provider,  negotiating the terms with the provider and doing the paperwork.

So if you’re contemplating aged care for a loved one and don’t know where to start – don’t delay. Call us today on 1800 744 676 for an obligation-free chat on how we can assist you and your family to get the best aged care outcome.


Until next time,

Sara and Margaret



Aged care complaints | Is your parent complaining about their aged care provider?

Sometimes elderly people complain because they want attention from others, especially their own children, or because they are frightened or lonely.  If you know that the care that is being provided is good, it can be sufficient if you just listen to the complaint or try to distract them from complaining with some activity such as taking them out for a walk or playing a game of chess with them.

Other times the complaint is real.  So what do you do?   We suggest you follow the list below in order and, if the complaint is not satisfied at that level, proceed to the next level on the list. It is always a good idea to have a written record of the complaint and, in our experience, written complaints are more likely to result in an outcome. If the complaint is not in writing, you can send a note afterwards reiterating the complaint and/or keep a file note of your conversation.

1. Start with the director of nursing for residential care or the case manager for home care.  You can either call and make an appointment or write a letter or email.
2. Contact the manager of the facility or service provider.
3. Get in touch with the Aged Care Advocacy service in your State or Territory.  These advocacy services are usually free of charge and can provide you with help with your complaint or speak to the service provider on your behalf.  Information about your local aged care advocacy service is available here:
4. Contact the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner:

If you require assistance, you can contact us at

Until next week

Sara and Margaret

DVA Cardholders

If you are a DVA Cardholder, you may be entitled to receive subsidised services from DVA. Call DVA on 1300 550 450 to discuss your needs.

Moving into aged care? Would you buy a home and not get advice?

In recent months, we have received a number of enquiries for assistance from people after they or their loved one has moved into care permanently. Often that is too late to do much about it.

We know that the vast majority of people go into aged care unplanned. They have had a fall or stroke or some other traumatic event, gone to hospital and been told they cannot return home. The hospital requires them to move out in a specified period so there is often a rush to find a place for a loved one and get everything done in time. The family is given the agreement and told they have to sign it before the person enters care or the agreement is produced after they enter care but have already agreed to a number of things. In either case, once you have moved into care, your options and your negotiating position are reduced significantly.

Entering into aged care is a significant cost and it is the same as buying a house – it is the place whee you or your loved one will live. Most people would not take the risk of buying a house without getting a lawyer or other suitably qualified professional involved. So get advice before you make any commitment to enter into aged care.

Until next time.

Sara and Margaret

Is aged care overregulated?

This question was prompted when we were recently asked why there are so many management and administration staff in aged care providers.  Our response was that these are are necessary because of the heavy regulation of the industry.  At the moment, residential providers are required to meet 4 Standards and 44 Expected Outcomes and these need to be done and documented.  The paperwork accounts for a significant proportion of the workload.  Facilities also need the leadership of the management and the support staff to plan, implement, review and evaluate the services provided by facilities as well the staff who provide the day to day clinical, physical and emotional care to residents.  If the Standards and the Expected Outcomes are not meet (or not properly documented) the consequences for a facility can be severe.

For example, a facility can be sanctioned if it fails to meet the regulations and, if it is sanctioned, the issues need to be fixed, a Nurse Adviser must be appointed to oversee the rectification process and the Department of Health closely monitors the the facility to ensure that the problems are fixed and the residents are properly supported during the process.  All this takes time and costs alot.  It also damages the reputation of the facility.

In our view, and the view of many others in the industry, there is scope to reduce the administrative overlay of the regulations.  In fact, proposals for streamlining the regulation have been submitted by the industry. The industry has been waiting for over 2 years for the revised Standards and Expected Outcomes to be approved with the Standards changing from 4 to 3 with 33 Expected Outcomes from the current 44.  These changes in the regulation will allow facilities to continue to measure compliance in a manner that is not so labour intensive with paperwork and enable them to spend the time and money caring for the residents.

Until next week

Margaret and Sara