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Aged care glossary




An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) are government-funded health professionals who assess the care needs of older Australians, helping them access care services and assessing eligibility for government-funded services.

Accommodation bond

A deposit within a low care residential aged care facility as security.

Accreditation audit

An on-site assessment by an Accreditation Agency assessment team of the quality of care provided by an aged care home. These audits determine whether an aged care home should be accredited and for how long.

Accreditation Standards

Specified in the Aged Care Act 1997 and the Quality of Care Principles 1997, these are a list of standards that Australian Government-subsidised aged care homes must meet before they can receive government funding. There are four Accreditation Standards and 44 expected outcomes focusing on:

  • management systems, staffing and organisational development
  • health and personal care
  • lifestyle
  • physical environment and safe systems


Accreditation is given by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency. Homes are accredited for a set period of time up to three years, although accreditation status can be changed at any time if there is a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of a resident.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

The basic activities of daily living are classified as:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Transferring
  • Continence
  • Toileting
  • Grooming
  • Shopping

Additional service fee

If you’re living in an aged care home and you request or agree to additional services like newspapers and hairdressing, you may be asked to pay an additional service fee.


A person who represents and works with a someone who may need support and encouragement to exercise their rights, to ensure that their rights are upheld.

Age pension

If you have reached retirement age then you may receive the Age Pension. This is a Department of Human Services payment which ensures you have an income for your retirement.

Aged Care Act 1997

The Aged Care Act 1997 is the Commonwealth legislation that allows government funding to be provided for aged care.

Aged care assessment service (ACAS)

For Victoria only, all other states - please see ACAT. The Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) helps the elderly and their carers determine what kind of support will best meet their needs. The team, often including a doctor, nurse, social worker and occupational therapist, will ask the client a series of questions to determine the best care options available, either at home or in a residential aged care home.

Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)

ACATs (or ACAS in Victoria) are teams of health professionals who conduct comprehensive face-to-face assessments of older people who have complex aged care needs. ACATs (or ACAS in Victoria) can approve older people to access residential care, Home Care Packages and transition care. An ACAT assessor may include a nurse, social worker and/or other health professionals.

Aged Care Client Record

The Aged Care Client Record (ACCR) is the form completed by the Aged Care Assessment Team following an assessment. It includes information about your assessment and approval for you to receive a Home Care Package, transition care or help at home or move into an aged care home.

Aged Care Complaints Commissioner

An independent officer responsible for providing a free complaints resolution service across Australia. Anyone can contact the Complaints Commissioner if they wish to raise a complaint or concern about an Australian Government-subsidised aged care service.

Ageing in place

An aged care facility that allows residents to move to differing levels of care, without having to move elsewhere.

Allied health support

Allied health support services assist you with minor health conditions. These services can include physiotherapy, speech pathology, occupational therapy , podiatry and dietitians.

Approved provider

The government subsidised organisation that owns and operates aged care services including home or residential care, provided to you in your own home, in the community or in an aged care home.

Assets assessment

As assessment carried out by The Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to determine if you qualify for assistance with your aged care accommodation costs.


Basic daily fee

A contribution paid by clients towards the cost of daily care. Can be wholly or partly covered by a pension, or can be paid in full by some clients.


A consultant who assists people understand aged care and helps them find the right service to fit their needs. Brokers may also be Case Managers or Placement Consultants.


Care plan

A care plan outlines your care needs and instructions about how these needs will be met. It is created, in consultation with you, a health professionals who provides your care and your family/ friends if you wish.

Care recipient

If you receive care and support, either in the community, in your own home or in an aged care home, then you are a care recipient.


A person who provides unpaid or paid ongoing care or assistance to someone who has a disability, illness or is frail.

Case Management

Case Management is the coordination of home and community services to ensure a client’s care and support needs are met on an ongoing basis.

Charter of Care Recipients' Rights and Responsibilities

If you are receiving care in an aged care home, you have rights and responsibilities that are included under the Aged Care Act 1997. This is called the Charter of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities.

Charter of Care Recipients' Rights and Responsibilities for Home Care

If you are receiving a Home Care Package, you have rights and responsibilities that are included under the Aged Care Act 1997. This is called the Charter of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities for Home Care.

Client Record

A Client Record is created by My Aged Care for people seeking access to aged care services. The client record will include client details (and carer or representative details), details about assessments and support plan, and information about service(s) received.

Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)

The Commonwealth Home Support Programme provides a comprehensive, coordinated range of basic maintenance, support and care services for people over 65 and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over.

Consumer Directed Care (CDC)

From February 2017 all Home Care Packages are delivered on a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) basis. CDC allows you and your carer to have more control over the design and delivery of the services you receive.

Continence Aids Payment Scheme

The CAPS is an Australian Government payment that assists eligible people to meet some of the cost of their continence products. It is a direct payment which means you have flexibility and choice about where and when you purchase your continence products.


Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP)

The DAP is the daily payment for accommodation costs in an Australian Government-subsidised aged care home. You make this payment on a regular basis similar to paying rent. This payment is not refundable. For further information, see Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD).

Day therapy centres

Offer a range of therapy services for older people living independently in the community or in aged care homes. Services may include physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy or podiatry.


Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease. Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks.

Discharge plan

If you are discharged from hospital then you may have a discharge plan. This is a plan developed by the hospital in close consultation with you, to ensure you receive appropriate and coordinated care when you leave the hospital.

Diversional therapists

Individuals who provide alternative focus to residents, usually in a group setting, including theme days, music hours and card games.


Enduring power of attorney

Allows you to delegate the management of your affairs even if you’re no longer able to understand the implications - such as if you become mentally incapacitated.

Extra or additional optional services

If you are moving into an aged care home, you may be asked to pay additional fees if you choose higher standards of accommodation or additional services. Your aged care provider can provide you with details of these services and the fees that apply.


Financial hardship provisions

Financial hardship assistance may be available to you if, through matters beyond your control, you do not have the income or assets available to pay your care costs. Every case is considered on an individual basis and based on each resident’s financial circumstances.

Flexible Aged Care Program

If you are an older Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person then you may benefit from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (flexible program). This program provides quality, flexible, culturally appropriate aged care close to your home and community.


Government-subsidised aged care facility

A government-subsidised aged care facility is a term previously used to describe an Australian Government-subsidised aged care home. These facilities receive funding from the Australian Government and are bound by the requirements of the Aged Care Act 1997.


A legally appointed substitute decision maker. They can only make these decisions subject to the powers granted to them to do so. In some circumstances, where it is not appropriate to appoint a private guardian, the board or tribunal has the option of appointing the Public Guardian who is usually a statutory official.


Home and Community Care (HACC)

Funded by the federal and state governments. An entry-level community program to stay living at home as long as possible.

Home Care Packages

The types of services provided under a home care package will depend on your needs.

There are four levels of home care packages designed to give the care needed:

  • Level 1 supports people with basic-care needs
  • Level 2 supports people with low-level care needs
  • Level 3 supports people with intermediate-care needs
  • Level 4 supports people with high-level care needs

From February 2017 all home care packages are delivered on a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) basis.

Home maintenance

Home maintenance services support you to stay in your own home by making your home safer and more secure. Services can include changing light bulbs, minor repairs, major repairs such as carpentry, painting and roof repairs, garden maintenance such as lawn mowing and removing rubbish.

Home modification

Home modification services can include installing grab and shower rails, easy-to-use tap sets, hand rails, ramps and other mobility aids, and other minor renovations. Home modifications must be installed by a licensed tradesperson and organised through the aged care provider.


A hospice is a facility specifically for the palliative care of people with a progressive life limiting illness. It offers total care for the person including physical, emotional and spiritual support. Hospices are staffed by specifically trained doctors, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists and volunteers.

Hostel care

Hostel care is the previous name for aged care homes that provide low-level care including accommodation services such as meals, laundry and room cleaning, as well as additional help with personal care.


In-home care services

Services that help you stay living in your own home – you choose when, where and how you need support. Services can be provided privately or through Government funded support.

Income-tested care fee for Home Care Packages

People on incomes higher than the Age Pension may be asked to contribute towards the cost of their Home Care Package. The Department of Human Services will work out if you are required to pay this fee, and how much, based on an assessment of your income.

Independent advocate

An independent advocate is a person from an advocacy service who has no relationship with the person they are supporting or with the agency that person is dealing with.



This is the acronym for 'lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex' people. Aged care providers are increasingly providing culturally appropriate care for LGBTI people.

License to occupy

A form of retirement living tenure that gives residents the right to occupy a residence without having ownership of it.

Living will

A living will (also known as an advance care directive) lets everyone involved in the care process know the wishes of the person approaching the end of their life in regards to health and medical care.


My Aged Care

Established by the Australian Government, to help you find information about aged care services and what you need to do to receive them.

My Aged Care Regional Assessment Service

The My Aged Care Regional Assessment Service (RAS) is a national assessment workforce, operating at a regional level in all states and territories (except Victoria and Western Australia). The RAS will be responsible for conducting face-to-face assessments of older people seeking entry-level support at home, provided under the Commonwealth Home Support programme (CHSP).


National Relay Service

The NRS is an Australia-wide phone service for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. It is also available to anyone who wants to call a person with a hearing or speech impairment.

National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP)

Commonwealth-funded program to provide respite care options with the aim of supporting and maintaining caring relationships between carers and dependent family member and friends.


A nominee is a person who can act on behalf of another person to conduct business, represent interests and receive correspondence from most Australian Government departments — including the Department of Health. Only one person can be registered as a resident’s nominee, and nominee arrangements are not shared between government agencies.


An organisation governed by a board of directors who volunteer their time. Surplus income is reinvested into the community to improve or expand services for clients.

Notices of Non-Compliance

The Department of Health can issue a Notice of Non-Compliance (a Notice) to an aged care home if they are not complying with their responsibilities to provide the required care and services. The Notice identifies the problems that need to be addressed including a timeframe that they must be addressed by.

Nursing care

Nursing care by a registered or enrolled nurse can provide care at home in a clinic or at another location such as a hospital. They can help you (according to their level of expertise) with checking aspects of your health such as your blood pressure, treatments such as changing wound dressings or catheter care, managing your continence, managing your medicines.



In aged care terminology a package means all of the care services and products required to assist someone at home. For example a package of care might include domestic cleaning services twice a week, monitored alarm and transport services to and from the local Day Therapy Centre.

Palliative care

Palliative care is provided for people who have an advanced illness, with little or no prospect of cure. The aim of palliative care is to achieve the best possible quality of life for the person, their family and carers.


If you receive an Australian Government means tested pension that is less than the maximum amount, then you are known as a part-pensioner.

Personal care

Personal care services include everyday tasks such as bathing and getting dressed, assistance with eating, going to the toilet, grooming, getting in and out of bed, moving about the house.

Personal Care Worker (PCW) or Personal Care Assistant (PCA)

A person who provides care to those who need assistance due to age, illness or disability.

Placement consultants

Professional fee-for service assistance to find the care option that best suits a client's needs. The Placement consultant will organise all of the relevant paperwork and arrangements necessary to secure a placement in either a community care program or residential aged care facility. Sometimes referred to as a Broker.

Power of attorney

A document that gives a person nominated by you the power to act on your behalf.



The use of timely assessment and short term, targeted interventions to:

  • assist people to maximise their independence, choice, health outcomes and quality of life
  • appropriately minimise support required and reliance on future and or alternate support
  • maximise the cost effectiveness of programs
  • support people to continue to participate and remain engaged in their local communities as they wish.

The provision of re-ablement services is part of the wellness philosophy.

Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD)

The RAD is a lump-sum payment for accommodation costs in an Australian Government-subsidised aged care home. This lump sum will be refunded when you leave the aged care home. For further information, see Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP).


If you’re recovering from illness or injury you may benefit from rehabilitation. This helps you to regain as much of your previous ability as possible so that you can become or remain as independent as you can be.

Repatriation Health Card

If you are a veteran there are three types of Repatriation Health Cards available:

  • Gold Repatriation Health Card
  • White Repatriation Health Card
  • Orange Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Card.

Residential aged care

Residential aged care is for older people who can no longer live at home. Reasons can include illness, disability, bereavement, an emergency, the needs of their carer, family or friends, or because it is no longer possible to manage at home without help.

Resident Agreement

A resident agreement is a legal agreement between a resident and the aged care home and sets out rights and obligations of both the resident and the aged care home.

Residential care

If you receive personal and/or nursing care in a residential facility, as well as accommodation, you are in residential aged care. This type of care also includes:

  • appropriate staffing to meet your nursing and personal care needs
  • meals and cleaning services
  • furnishings, furniture and equipment.

Respite care

Respite care (also known as short-term care) is a form of support for carers or care recipients. It gives the carer the opportunity to attend to everyday activities and have a break from their caring role and the care recipient a break from their usual care arrangements. Respite care may be given informally by friends, family or neighbours, or by formal respite services.

Residential respite can be used on a planned or emergency basis by people who have been approved by an ACAT to receive residential respite care.


Sanction or Sanctions in place

The Department of Health may impose sanctions if an approved provider is not complying with its responsibilities under the Aged Care Act 1997. The decision to impose sanctions is not taken lightly and includes consideration of issues such as whether the non-compliance is minor or serious, whether it has occurred before and whether it threatens the health, welfare or interests of the residents.

Self-funded retiree / non-pensioner

If you fund your own retirement and don’t receive any Australian Government means-tested pensions, then you are known as a self-funded retiree. You may sometimes be known as a non-pensioner.

Self-management programs

If you have a chronic disease then you may benefit from self-management programs for chronic diseases. These programs provide support for managing your chronic illness, usually by assisting you to change your behaviour in ways that will improve your health.

Service provider

A service provider is an organisation funded to provide aged care services to older people.

Short-term care

There are two main types of short-term care available – respite care and transition care.

Social leave

If you are a permanent resident of an aged care home, you are entitled to 52 nights away from the home in a financial year without having to pay extra fees. This is known as social leave. If you take more than 52 nights you may be asked to pay additional fees to compensate the aged care home for the loss of subsidies that the Australian Government pays to the home.

Special needs groups

There are nine groups of people with special needs mentioned in aged care legislation. These are:

  • people from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
  • people who live in rural or remote areas
  • people who are financially or socially disadvantaged
  • people who are veterans of the Australian Defence Force or an allied defence force including the spouse, widow or widower of a veteran
  • people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless
  • people who are care leavers (which includes Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and Stolen Generations)
  • parents separated from their children by forced adoption or removal
  • people from lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities.

Specified care and services

If you’re living in an aged care home, your home is obliged to provide a range of care and services to you at no additional cost. These are known as specified care and services, and they must be provided in a way which meets the requirements of the Aged Care Act 1997 including the Accreditation Standards.

Staff on-site

The staff that you can expect to find on-site at an aged care home in the course of a normal day.

Staffing policy

Many aged care homes provide a staffing policy that details the types of nursing and non-nursing staff they have, numbers of staff, ratios of staff to residents, and other information.

Support plan

A document which details the outcomes of discussions with, and assessments of, the Client, including what a client would like to improve and achieve (their goals), and agreed actions to be taken. It is a continuous document (i.e. a client only has one Support Plan).

Supported living

Independent units, apartments or bedsitters within a community where support services are provided. These support services may be meals, cleaning, cooking, personal care or other assistance as required.

Supported residential facility (SRF)

A Supported residential facility (SRF) may offer a similar service to that of a Government funded residential aged care facility but without the funding support. SRF are state registered service providers. An ACAT/ACAS assessment is not required.

Supported residential services (SRS)

Supported residential services (SRS) may offer a similar service to that of a Government funded residential aged care facility but without the funding support. SRS are state registered service providers. An ACAT/ACAS assessment is not required.


Transition care

If you are an older person who is ready to be discharged from hospital, but you still need short-term care after your hospital stay to be as independent as you can be, then you may benefit from transition care (also known as ‘after-hospital care’). This type of care is designed to ensure more people return home after a hospital stay rather than move into an aged care home prematurely.

Translating and Interpreting Service

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) is available for both English and non-English speakers. For non-English speakers, TIS National can provide telephone and onsite interpreters. For English speakers, TIS National provides interpreting services to help communicate with non-English speaking people using Automated Telephone Interpreting Service and onsite interpreting.

Transport services

Transport services can help get you to and from your appointments and around your community. You can get picked up by a transport service or receive vouchers or subsidies, for taxi services. Your state and territory Department of Health may also have services to assist.


Veteran and war widow/widower pensioners

If you are a veteran or war widow/widower and you are eligible for and receive a pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, then you are known as a veteran and war widow/widower pensioner.

Veterans' Home Care (VHC)

If you are a veteran, war widow or widower who has low care needs to remain in your own home for longer, you may benefit from Veterans’ Home Care (VHC). This is a Department of Veterans’ Affairs program that provides services including domestic assistance, personal care as well as gardening and home maintenance. VHC is not an entitlement-based program like most other veterans’ programs but a fixed budget program.

Veterans’ supplement

If you are a veteran with an accepted mental health condition, then you may benefit from the Veterans’ Supplement. This supplement was introduced from 1 July 2013 and will apply to all eligible veterans receiving a Home Care Package or living in an aged care home. It is designed to help providers deliver more appropriate care to veterans with an accepted mental health condition.


War widow/widower pensions

War widow/widower pensions are pensions paid by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to widowed partners and dependents of veterans who have died as a result of war service or eligible defence service.


A philosophy that focuses on whole of system support to maximise clients’ independence and autonomy. It is based on the premise that even with frailty, chronic illness or disability; people generally have the desire and capacity to make gains in their physical, social and emotional wellbeing and to live autonomously and independently. It emphasises prevention, optimising physical function and active participation. It focuses on finding the service solutions to best support each individual’s aspirations to maintain and strengthen their capacity to continue with their activities of daily living, social and community connections.