We published an earlier article that referred to retirement village living – noting this is an independent style of living with its own unique set of requirements. In certain circumstances it is necessary to enter Aged Care rather than continue to live independently at home or in a retirement village.

The following article sets out a brief summary of aged care legislation, noting it can be a complex minefield to navigate and our lawyers are available to review any resident contract or accommodation agreement if you or a loved one are faced with entry to an aged care facility.

Aged Care Legislation

The Aged Care Legislation (including the Aged Care Principles) is administered by the Department of Social Services.

The legislation comprises:

  • the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth);
  • the Aged Care (Transitional Provisions) Act 1997;
  • the Aged Care (Accommodation Payment Security) Act 2006;
  • the Aged Care (Accommodation Payment Security) Levy Act 2006; and
  • the Aged Care Principles set out below 

Aged Care Principles

In addition to the Aged Care Legislation, the Minister responsible for aged care (Minister) is empowered by section 96(1) of the Aged Care Act to make further rules necessary or convenient for the operation of the Aged Care Act (the Aged Care Principles).

The Aged Care Principles:

  • include the following Principles:
  • must also be considered when considering the Aged Care Legislative framework; and
  • are legislative instruments with the force of the law behind them;
    • Accountability provisions (made under Part 4.3);
    • Allocation Principles (made under Part 2.2);
    • Approval of Care Recipients Principles (made under Part 2.3);
    • Approved Provider Principles (made under Part 2.1);
    • Classification Principles (made under Part 2.4);
    • Commissioner Principles (made under Divisions 95A and 95B);
    • Committee Principles (made under section 96 – 3);
    • Complaints Principles (made under parts 6.4A and 6.6);
    • Extra Service Principles (made under part 2.5);
    • Fees and Payments Principles (made under Parts 3A.1, 3A.2 and 3A.3);
    • Grant Principles (made under parts 5.1, 5.5, 5.6 and 5.7);
    • Information Principles (made under Part 6.2);
    • Quality Agency Reporting Principles (made under Part 4.4);
    • Quality of Care Principles (made under Part 4.1);
    • Records Principles (made under Part 6.3);
    • Sanctions Principles (made under Part 4.4);
    • Subsidy Principles (made under Parts 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3); and
    • User Rights Principles (made under Part 4.2).

The Aged Care Act – Summary

The Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) (Aged Care Act) is the principal piece of legislation underpinning all laws relating to Aged Care and encompasses a number of different types of aged care including:

  • residential care;
  • home care; and
  • flexible care (including Multi-Purpose Services, Innovative Care and Transition Care).

The objectives of the Aged Care Act are set out in Section 2.1 of the Aged Care Act, with the overall objective being a focus on the rights and well-being of older citizens. 

The Process of Entry into Aged Care

Essentially, the procedure is as follows:

  • the Aged Care Act certifies Approved Providers who provide either residential care, home care or flexible care;
  • Care Recipients (or residents) are assessed as to whether high-level care or low-level care is required;
  • Once the need for care is established, a Care Recipient will be means tested to determine the level of contribution and basic daily service fees payable;
  • The Care Recipient will often be asked to pay an Accommodation Payment or bond upon entering a facility and sign an Accommodation or Resident Agreement.

Conclusion

Should you or a loved one require a review of an Aged Care Agreement, we would be happy to have one of our experienced lawyers assist. Please call on 1300 544 755.

Emma Heuston

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