Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, some Australians have lost confidence in residential aged care.
A recent study survey found that 54% of people who have a loved one in aged care are currently considering taking that person out of care. If you are considering removing a loved one from a residential aged care facility and bringing them home, what exactly are your options?
Today we explain your rights and responsibilities when you choose to exit a residential aged care facility, switch providers or take temporary leave.
There are multiple options to consider such as a temporary stay at home, as well as considering a more permanent arrangement. Following the direct impact that COVID-19 has had on our residential aged care homes understanding these options is more important than ever.
All residents of nursing homes are able to access 52 days of leave (overnight stays) during the year which may cover weekends and time with the family over Christmas or during special celebrations.
Hospital leave is unlimited which ensures that the place in the aged care facility remains when hospital care is required.
During the pandemic, residents of aged care facilities are able to access additional ‘emergency leave’ until the end of June 2021 according to the Department of Health.
There is no restriction on the amount of time that residents can stay with family while keeping their place in the aged care facility.
In this situation, fees are continued to be paid as per the usual agreement with the aged care facility.
The Department of Human Services developed a list of things to consider for providing care in a home environment when considering leaving an aged care home during the pandemic.
Additional services are available at home for up to eight weeks to support the ‘emergency leave’ arrangement, through the Commonwealth Home Support Program. This support covers meals, transport, individual social support, unaccompanied shopping, allied health and therapy services, and lower level nursing and personal care.
There are multiple options available to support people to live at home.
Family may want to bring a loved one into their own home and provide care themselves, organise an informal care arrangement from family members or access professional support for care at home, from an experienced service provider – or a combination of arrangements.
There are government funded supports available such as the Commonwealth Home Support Program or a Home Care Package provided by My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. To receive a means-tested Home Care Package, an assessment is required and there is a waiting list. Additional supports are available for people in a caring role through The Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.
Private care (fee for service) arrangements can be tailored to meet all care needs from one hour to 24-hour care. Or, private care can be provided to top up government-funded care or be put in place while waiting for a Home Care Package.
After consideration, you may decide that the best option is to move your loved one from a residential aged care facility back home.
As a nursing home resident, your loved one can choose to leave or move to another service at any time without penalty. A lot of people mistakenly believe they will lose some or all of the lump sum they have paid, or that they need to wait for the nursing home to find a new resident before they get their money back. The lump-sum balance, less allowable amounts that have been taken out over the care period will be refunded. A new agreement will then need to be reached with the new aged care provider.
The Department of Health has outlined how lump sums and refunds are calculated. This will depend on the date of when the resident moved into the facility and individual payment arrangements (i.e. whether it is a mix of lump sum and rental-style).
To gain additional advice about an individual arrangement, contact the Older Persons Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600
Make the switch
At Prestige, we can assist you with the process of switching from nursing homes to in-home care. Simply call our Care Specialist team on 1300 10 30 10 or, book a free consultation here. We’ll walk you through the process and help you understand all your options.