Step 7.4

How do I apply to an aged care home?

Applying for an aged care home

Before you can be offered a place in a aged care home (nursing home), you need to formally apply. When you apply to a home, remember:


There is no obligation on your part

If your application is successful, you do not have to accept it.


There is no limit on the number of aged care homes you can apply to

You can apply to one or several homes.  In fact you should try to apply for at least three homes, remembering that the more you apply for, the more likely you are to be offered a place soon.


You may have to join a waiting list

If there are no places in the home(s) of your choice you may have to go onto a waiting list.


You may have to wait for a place that you can afford

All accredited, government subsidised aged care homes need to hold a certain number of beds or places for ‘low-means residents’ (meaning that you are eligible under the Centrelink/DVA income and assets test for the Government to pay for all or most of your costs for accommodation and care).  However, aged care homes usually offer a range of places with different features and inclusions, at different prices.

A home may have a vacancy but it might be at a higher price than you can afford.  If you expect to qualify as a  low means or fully supported aged care resident, you may have to wait for a place to become available.


How do you apply?

You apply to homes individually.  Each has its own application process and usually a form that you will need to complete.  Talk to each home to find out what process they have and what information they will need. 

See section below, 'What information is required in the application'.

What information is required in the application?

Much of the information in the application will be expected – such as your relationship status, contact details and the name and contact details of your next of kin, whether you are wanting permanent or respite care, information about your health and care needs, details of your financial situation, and how urgently you need to find a place.

Be prepared

At some stage in the process of agreeing to move into a government subsidised aged care home, you will be asked to provide:

  • Next of kin details – name and contact information
  • The outcome of your ACAT/ACAS assessment – or information about the status with it.   
  • Your My Aged Care client number 
  • Details about your health status, including mental health and cognitive health such as if you have been diagnosed with dementia 
  • Information about the urgency of your need for a place
  • Your preference for a room type (single or shared, ensuite bathroom/shared bathroom etc)
  • Whether you want ‘extra services’
  • Name and contact details of your Enduring Power of Attorney (and copy of document)
  • Name and contact details of your Enduring Guardian
  • Pension or DVA status – including your pension or DVA card number and expiry date
  • Details of your financial situation, including the outcome of your Combined Income and Assets Test
  • Medicare number (including expiry date) 
  • Any private health insurance/ambulance cover details and policy numbers
  • Name and contact details for your GP and other key health specialists involved in your care
  • Any religious, cultural or other specific considerations needed, including sexuality
  • Your first /preferred language and whether you will need interpreter services
  • Details of the person or organisation who holds your will
  • End of life care wishes and copies of key documents like an advanced care directive
  • Details of your funeral arrangements 


  • Copies of all the key documents

If you want your fees and charges subsidised by the Australian Government, you are required to provide your personal financial details to the aged care home and complete the Combined Income and Assets Test for Centrelink or DVA.  It is not required as part of the application process if you are going to pay the full cost of your care.

What to expect after applying
  • You may receive an email or a phone call to let you know the result of your application, mostly within a day or two.  
  • If you are still waiting for a response after three or four business days, you should contact the home directly.
  • Agedcare101 does not manage the responses from aged care homes (nursing homes) you have applied


  • All responses will go directly to you or the person who has been identified as the key contact person in the application.  You may receive an email to the email address that was given or you may receive a phone call to the contact number you provided.

Looking for aged care?

Did you know it could be 13 weeks or more to secure an aged care home?

agedcare101 makes aged care easy with 9 steps to an aged care home. You’re likely feeling the pressure to do something now but it’s equally important to invest the time to complete each of the steps and get the best result.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.