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How to apply for a nursing home

Last Updated at August 6th 2020
As soon as you have been approved by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) for Government funded residential care you can begin looking for your future home.

Key points:

  • Try to visit as many aged care facilities as you can before deciding on your new nursing home

  • Undertaking respite at a facility can give you an idea of what it might be like to live there

  • Bed vacancies can open up sporadically and it can be difficult to know how long you may be waiting to receive a placement

When searching for nursing homes, decide what features are important to you (Source: Shutterstock)
When searching for nursing homes, decide what features are important to you (Source: Shutterstock)

You can do this yourself or you can hire a placement consultant to do this for you.

When searching for nursing homes, decide what features are important to you. Are you looking for an extra service facility, a specific cultural environment or a facility with pets?

It is important to know and understand the types of homes that are available in your area because this may affect the cost and services you receive.

Search for homes in your area here.

It is recommended that you visit as many homes as possible, just as you would when buying or renting a house. This will allow you to get a feel for the culture of the home and its surroundings.

You can also use residential respite as a way of finding out about the quality of care at a nursing home before deciding if the home is a good place for you to move into.

When you have narrowed down which homes would suit your needs and wants, it is best to apply to a number of homes to increase your chances of finding a place quickly.

Nursing homes cannot predict or know when a vacancy will become available and if you only apply to one home you could be waiting quite a long time.

Older woman receiving help from a support worker
Residential respite is a way to find out about the quality of care at a nursing home (Source: Shutterstock)

Application Forms

The easiest way to apply to nursing homes is by using the online Application Form for Residential Aged Care on

This service is free to DPS Members and will allow you to create and save an application form so you don’t have to resubmit your details every time you apply to a home.

You can apply to multiple facilities at once and your application has the highest chance of making it to the 'top of the pile'.

As soon as you have signed up as a DPS Member and have your membership confirmed, you are ready to create your applicant form.

Log in to your account and fill out the required details on the application form. Remember that the more information you supply, the easier it will be for an organisation to see if they have suitable placement available.

After completing this form it will be stored in your members area. It will not be supplied to any facilities until you select them. DPS will not release any information to anyone else.

Next you can begin browsing our Nursing Home listings. If you find a home that you like you can click the ‘Add to List’ button within the results list or on the facility profile to add it to your list.

When you’re finished, go to the Apply to Homes page under your profile, select the application you wish to send and click 'Send your application now'.

Older person looking up things on their tablet
It's easy to search, enquire and apply to nursing homes online on (Source: Shutterstock)

Enquiry Forms

Enquiry forms are attached to every profile on this website including aged care facilities, home care services, business', products or services.

You can use the ‘Send Enquiry’ form to send an email to any business on the website. This message will be sent straight to the service provider and they should contact you directly.

If you log in as a member before sending an enquiry, your details are automatically entered to make it easier to send enquiries.

You can also view and manage your enquiries and applications history in the DPS Members area.

What catches your eye when on tour at an aged care facility? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Introduction to nursing homes
Urgent admission into aged care
Supported Residential Services and Facilities (SRS/SRF)

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