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How do I complete a Resident Agreement?

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How to complete a resident agreement.
  • Read, understand and sign a legally binding document called a ‘resident agreement’
  • You may also have to sign an ‘accommodation agreement’
  • Know what you will need to understand and check for when signing the agreements
  • Know your rights and responsibilities as a resident
  • If necessary, know how to make a complaint

8.1 What are the types of aged care legal agreements?

What is a resident agreement?

After being offered a place in an aged care home (nursing home) you need to complete some paperwork, to confirm that you understand and accept the terms of moving in.   This paper work includes a Resident Agreement which everyone has to sign and possibly an Accommodation Agreement (which you only sign if you are contributing to the cost of your accommodation).

  • two separate agreement documents
  • a single Resident Agreement that also incorporates the Accommodation Agreement 
  • a choice to have a single agreement or two separate agreements 


Depending on the aged care home, you may be offered:

Whether you sign one combined agreement or two separate agreements will affect how much time you have to sign the agreement.

8.2 What is a resident agreement?

What is a Resident Agreement?
  • The services and care being made available to you
  • The fees you will pay
  • The rights and responsibility of the aged care home (nursing home)


  • Your rights and responsibilities as a resident
What should the Resident Agreement include?

The Resident Agreement should clearly identify the following things:

  • The name of the aged care home 
  • The policies, practices and considerations used in calculating your fees
  • How much you will pay as your basic daily fee
  • How much you will pay if you have to pay an additional means-tested care fee
  • Any ‘extra services’ you have agreed to and how much they will cost
  • The rights and responsibilities of the aged care home  toward you as a resident
  • Your rights and responsibilities as a resident in the aged care home
  • The process for dealing with complaints - from you, family or friends
  • The circumstances in which you could be asked to leave the home - for example non-payment of fees, or if your needs change and the home is not able to provide the level of care you need - and the process involved in helping you find new accommodation


  • Any other agreements made between you and the manager of the aged care home (nursing home) within the requirements of the Aged Care Act 1997
Is the Resident Agreement Legally Binding?

Yes, the Resident Agreement is legally binding so you should be sure that you - and your family member or other representative - understand all the elements of the agreement.

  • What is included and what is excluded in the costs? Consider things like food and meals, bedding, medical supplies and special equipment?
  • What can the home charge you extra for?
  • How will you be paying your daily care fee?
  • If you are not paying it directly yourself, who is responsible and is that made clear?


  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request that additional details are included.

The Resident Agreement is legally binding so you should be sure that you and your family member or representative understands all elements of it.

Change of mind?
  • After you have signed the Resident Agreement you have 14 days to change your mind:
  • If you want to withdraw from the Resident Agreement within 14 days of signing, you need to let your aged care home (nursing home) know straight away, in writing. You will still need to pay your care fees and charges for the care you’ve received during the 14 days. If you’ve made any other payments to the home during that time, you are entitled to a refund.
  • If you decide you’d like to make changes to your Resident Agreement, both you and your aged care home (nursing home) will have to agree.


  • If you want to end your Resident Agreement at any time, you will have to give notice to the home, preferably in writing.
The Resident Agreement for Respite Care

If you are only going to the aged care home (nursing home) for a short time - for respite care – you still need a Resident Agreement.

As with permanent or long term care, the Resident Agreement for respite care will provide information on both:


  • the costs to you – referred to as the respite care booking fee, which is a prepaid
  • basic daily fee

8.3 What is an accommodation agreement?

You only make this agreement if you need to contribute to the cost of your accommodation.  See 4.2 The main costs of going into an aged care home

If you are not contributing to your accommodation costs, you will not be asked to sign an Accommodation Agreement.

What should the Accommodation Agreement include?

The Accommodation Agreement should clearly identify the following things:

  • The price you have agreed to pay the home for your accommodation.
  • Details on the three payment options you can choose from to pay the accommodation price:
    1.) the lump-sum amount – the Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) 
    2.) the rental-type payment amount – the Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP)
    3.) combined payment amounts, such as 50 per cent payment by lump-sum and 50 per cent rental-type payment amount
  • Other conditions of your accommodation payment, including, if applicable, the refund amount of your lump sum balance if you leave or die or interest rates charged.
  • Any extra service costs for higher standard accommodation, meals and services, which the home can provide at additional cost.
  • The specific accommodation you will be provided with – single or shared room, ensuite or shared bathroom.
  • Any services that your accommodation payment entitles you to receive.


  • The conditions relating to moving rooms.

8.4 When do you have to sign the aged care home agreements?

Resident Agreement

You can choose to enter into the Resident Agreement but not sign it at the time it is offered. You are free to take time to ask friends or family, your carer, financial adviser or lawyer to help you go through the agreement, if you wish.

There is no official time limit for signing the Resident Agreement if:

  • you are not paying a contribution to your accommodation;


  • the Resident Agreement and the accommodation agreement are separate documents

However, as the Resident Agreement covers your rights and responsibilities, it is in your best interest to finalise the Resident Agreement as soon as you can.

Accommodation Agreement

If you are contributing to your accommodation costs, you have 28 days from the date you move in - to decide how you want to pay your accommodation costs and sign the Accommodation Agreement.

If you have any questions you should ask the aged care home (nursing home).  It is up to them to make sure you and your family or other representatives have every chance to properly understand this legally binding agreement.  You can also ask family, friends or a legal practitioner to help you understand the agreement.

If you are contributing to your accommodation costs, you have 28 days from the date you move in to decide how you want to pay your accommodation costs and sign the Accommodation Agreement.

Combined Resident Agreement and Accommodation Agreement

If the Accommodation Agreement is a part of the Resident Agreement and you have to pay a contribution to your accommodation costs, then you'll need to sign the resident agreement within 28 days of moving into your aged care home.

Before you sign, remember:

If there are any parts of the agreements that you don’t understand you should tell the aged care home and get help.

Before you sign, remember, if there are any parts of the agreements that you don't understand you should tell the aged care home and get help.

8.5 What are my rights and responsibilities in an aged care home?

Rights and Responsibilities in an aged care home

All residents in Aged Care Homes (nursing homes) have the same rights and responsibilities, protected in legislation by the Australian Government. All government funded homes must comply with these rules.

A copy of the Charter of Care Recipients Rights and Responsibilities should be included with the Resident Agreement.

The charter should also be displayed in the aged care home (nursing home).

The Charter of Care Recipients Rights and Responsibilities states that all residents have the following rights:

  • to full and effective use of his or her personal, civil, legal and consumer rights;
  • to quality care appropriate to his or her needs;
  • to full information about his or her own state of health and about available treatments;
  • to be treated with dignity and respect, and to live without exploitation, abuse or neglect;
  • to live without discrimination or victimisation, and without being obliged to feel grateful to those providing his or her care and accommodation;
  • to personal privacy;
  • to live in a safe, secure and homelike environment, and to move freely both within and outside the residential care service without undue restriction;
  • to be treated and accepted as an individual, and to have his or her individual preferences taken into account and treated with respect;
  • to continue his or her cultural and religious practices, and to keep the language of his or her choice, without discrimination;
  • to select and maintain social and personal relationships with anyone else without fear, criticism or restriction;
  • to freedom of speech;
  • to maintain his or her personal independence;
  • to accept personal responsibility for his or her own actions and choices, even though these may involve an element of risk, because the care recipient has the right to accept the risk and not to have the risk used as a ground for preventing or restricting his or her actions and choices;
  • to maintain control over, and to continue making decisions about, the personal aspects of his or her daily life, financial affairs and possessions;
  • to be involved in the activities, associations and friendships of his or her choice, both within and outside the residential care service;
  • to have access to services and activities available generally in the community;
  • to be consulted on, and to choose to have input into, decisions about the living arrangements of the residential care service;
  • to have access to information about his or her rights, care, accommodation and any other information that relates to the care recipient personally;
  • to complain and to take action to resolve disputes;
  • to have access to advocates and other avenues of redress;


  • to be free from reprisal, or a well founded fear of reprisal, in any form for taking action to enforce his or her rights.

The Charter of Care Recipients Rights and Responsibilities states that all residents have the following responsibilities:

  • to respect the rights and needs of other people within the residential care service, and to respect the needs of the residential care service community as a whole;
  • to respect the rights of staff to work in an environment free from harassment;
  • to care for his or her own health and well being, as far as he or she is capable;


  • to inform his or her medical practitioner, as far as he or she is able, about his or her relevant medical history and current state of health

8.6 How do I make a complaint to an aged care home?

Lodging Complaints

If you are not happy with an aspect of your care or other services you receive in the aged care home (nursing home), you have the right to express your concerns or make a complaint.

(see points s, t, and u in the resident’s rights under the Charter of Care Recipients Rights and Responsibilities)

There are two ways to make a complaint:

1. Raise the complaint directly with the aged care home

This is usually the best initial course of action. Aged care homes are expected to include details of their complaint procedures as part of the resident agreement so you should know how to raise a concern and with whom.   The management staff of the home will always want to hear your concerns first and have the opportunity to work with you to fix the problem or find a solution as quickly and effectively as possible.

2. Make a complaint to the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission 

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission commenced operation on 1 January 2019. Its role is to protect and enhance the safety, health, well-being and quality of life of people in aged care. 

The Commission assumes the functions of the former Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, and is committed to promoting high-quality care and services to safeguard everyone who is receiving Australian Government funded aged care. 

If you want to make an enquiry or raise a complaint about the quality of care or services being delivered to people receiving aged care services subsidised by the Australian Government, you can contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission on 1800 951 822 or visit

Providers must not discontinue care or services, refuse access or otherwise take action against a person because they have made a complaint. They must address complaints fairly, promptly and confidentially.

Annie Donaldson

agedcare101 Registered Nurse and Carer

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