- Your aged care facility needs to provide you with a resident agreement before you enter or as soon as possible after you enter
- From entering a facility, you have 14 days to withdraw from the agreement
- Never sign a resident agreement if you don't fully understand what is within the document
Before you move in, an aged care home will offer you a Resident Agreement to sign, which may cover things like the services you will receive, the fees to be paid and the rights and responsibilities you have as a resident of the home.
It is an important agreement - as it is a legal document that outlines and covers everything involving your stay in residential aged care - so you should carefully read over the agreement provided to you.
What does my agreement include?
Your Resident Agreement should include the following:
- The name of your aged care home
- The policies and practices used to set your fees and charges
- The level of daily fee you’ll be asked to pay
- Any extra services you’ve agreed to receive, and their costs
- Any circumstances where you might be asked to leave and how the aged care home will help you find somewhere more appropriate
- Your rights and responsibilities as a resident in your new aged care home
- Your aged care home’s responsibilities to you as a resident
- How the aged care home will deal with any complaints you, your carer, friends or family may make
- Any other matters agreed between you and the aged care home’s manager, within the requirements of the Aged Care Act 1997
When do I sign?
If you choose to enter into a Resident Agreement, you don’t have to sign it at the time it is offered.
You may want to take time to ask your friends, family, carer, financial advisor or legal practitioner for help to go through the agreement, although you don’t have to.
While there is no time limit for signing the Resident Agreement, it is in your best interest to finalise the Resident Agreement as soon as you can, as it covers your rights and responsibilities.
Can I withdraw from the Resident Agreement?
Should you change your mind, you can withdraw from the Resident Agreement within 14 days of signing.
You will need to let your aged care home know straight away, in writing, and you will still need to pay your care fees and any charges for care you’ve received during the 14 days.
If you’ve made any other payments to your provider during that time, you are entitled to a refund.
Can I change the terms of the Resident Agreement?
Changes can only be made to your Resident Agreement if both you and your aged care home agree.
If you wish to end your Agreement, you’ll have to give the home notice of your intention to do so, preferably in writing.
What if I need help understanding the agreements?
Since the Resident Agreement is a legally binding document, it’s important you understand everything in the document before you sign it.
If you have any questions, you should ask your new aged care home. It’s their responsibility to make sure the agreements offered to you are clear.
You can also ask your family, friends, carer or a legal practitioner to help you understand the terms of your agreements. The proposed agreements may not automatically include all the things that you think are important, so it is a good idea to check.
Or, if you’re having language difficulties because the agreements aren’t written in your preferred language, you can contact the Australian Government Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50.
TIS covers more than 100 languages and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the cost of a local call.
What if I am not able to sign the agreements?
If you understand your agreement and want to sign it, but are physically unable to, you can ask someone with the legal authority to sign on your behalf, such as someone who holds power of attorney for you.
Do I have to sign the agreement?
If you don't want to sign the agreement, then you don't have to. But you will need to enter into an agreement with your provider by agreeing verbally.
Your provider will make a record that you verbally agreed to the Resident Agreement and didn't wish to sign, as well as the reasons for why you signed. Your facility will also note the care and services you will be receiving from them.
Rights and responsibilities
Your rights and responsibilities will be the same as those of every other resident.
To make sure your rights and responsibilities are protected, there is legislation that all aged care homes funded by the Government must follow.
The Charter of Aged Care Rights will be displayed in your aged care home, or you can ask your home for a copy when they offer you your Resident Agreement. You can learn more about the Charter in our article, 'Your rights in aged care'.
Do you have any special additions you want to include in your resident agreement? Tell us in the comments below.
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