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Frequently Asked Questions: Removal of high/low care classification from Residential Care

Frequently Asked Questions

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) outline changes to care and services in permanent residential aged care. These changes occur from 1 July 2014 and apply to all permanent residents including those from the veteran community. These FAQs may be updated from time to time as required.

Why is the high – low care distinction being removed in permanent residential aged care from 1 July 2014?

From 1 July 2014, the distinction between high and low care in residential aged care is being removed for all new and existing residents. The approval for permanent residential aged care will no longer be limited to a care level, but instead, will be approved on an ‘ageing in place’ basis. This means a person with a permanent residential aged care approval may be admitted to any residential aged care place, subject to availability and the provider’s agreement.
Removing the distinction between low and high care will result in flexible, simple and more transparent arrangements in permanent residential aged care. This will reduce red tape for consumers and providers without compromising levels of care provided to residents. There will be no reduction in the level of DVA-funded services in residential aged care as a result of these changes.

Will the distinction be removed if I am already in residential aged care?

Yes, the high – low care distinction will be removed for both existing and new residents in residential aged care. All residents will now be identified as having a permanent aged care approval.

How will my care needs be determined without this classification?

From 1 July 2014, all new and existing residents will cease to be classified as low care or high care recipients, but will continue to be assessed under the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI). The ACFI is used to assess the level of a resident’s care needs and determine the amount of basic subsidy provided by the Australian Government.

Depending on your care needs, you may be asked to pay additional costs for some types of complex care and services. If you have a high rating in any ACFI category, or a medium rating in two or more ACFI categories, your residential aged care home cannot ask you to pay for complex care and services. This means you do not have to pay additional fees for nursing care, allied health services, incontinence aids, non-customised mobility goods and specialised bedding materials. If you do not meet the above criteria, and hold a Repatriation Health Card, you may continue to access DVA-funded services in the same way as you did before entering care.

Will I have to move aged care homes if my care needs change?

No, from 1 July 2014, all residents in residential aged care will be provided with services on an ‘ageing in place’ basis. If you are a permanent resident, you will have the right to indefinite residence, unless the conditions are met for asking a resident to leave residential aged care as set out in the User Rights Principles made under the Aged Care Act 1997.

Will the care and services in my residential aged care home change from 1 July 2014?

No. As a result of this change, there will be no reduction in services available to residents. These changes update Schedule 1of the Quality of Care Principles 2014, which outline the care and services that are expected to be provided for residents in a residential aged care home. These changes consolidate and modernise the Schedule, and apply to all new and continuing residents.

How will these changes affect residential respite services?

These changes do not affect residential respite. Respite care recipients will continue to receive low and high level care approvals and resident classifications after 1 July 2014.

Will I still be able to access aids and appliances through the Rehabilitation Appliances Programme (RAP) from 1 July 2014?

Eligible veterans and war widow/ers in residential aged care will not have any reduction to what they can access from DVA. If you are eligible for aids and equipment under DVA’s RAP Programme and the residential aged care home is not already subsidised to provide this service, based on the classification of your care needs, then you are able to continue to access this through DVA under the usual arrangements.

For more information please see;

Will these changes affect my access to DVA funded allied health services that I receive from 1 July 2014?

Eligible veterans and war widow/ers in residential aged care homes will not have any reduction to what they can access from DVA. If you are eligible for DVA allied health services and the residential aged care home is not already subsidised to provide this service, based on the classification of your care needs, then you are able to continue to access this through DVA under the usual arrangements.

For more information please see;

Where can I find more information about the Aged Care Reforms?

Further information on the Aged Care Reform changes can be accessed from the My Aged Care website or by contacting the My Aged Care contact centre on phone number 1800 200 422 between 8.00am and 8.00pm on weekdays and between 10.00am and 2.00pm on Saturdays.

Where can I find out more information about DVA services?

General enquires relating to veterans services can be directed to the Veterans Access Network (VAN) on:

* Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

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