Terms and Definitions


Before you can move into any Commonwealth subsidised aged care home (nursing home), you need to have a comprehensive assessment to identify the type and amount of care you will need.  This comprehensive assessment is undertaken by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) and is usually referred to as an ACAT Assessment.  If you live in Victoria, it is called an ACAS assessment.

ACAT Not Required

This refers to an Aged Care Home (Nursing Home) that doesn't require an individual to have an ACAT assessment to be admitted.

Accommodation Agreement

The Accommodation Agreement is a legal agreement between you and the aged care home (nursing home) which sets out the accommodation costs you will be expected to pay and how you agree to pay them.  You only have to sign an Accommodation Agreement if you are required to contribute to the cost of your accommodation.

Accommodation Costs

The aged care home (nursing home) can charge a fee for the accommodation provided to you.  It’s the bricks and mortar, the physical amenities and maintenance that the aged care home (nursing home) provides.  The accommodation costs are set by each individual aged care home (nursing home).


In Australia the government has a standard of accreditation called The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.  They audit aged care homes (nursing homes) across 4 categories which they call ‘standards’.  They are as follows: standard one - management systems, standard two - health and personal care, standard three - care recipient lifestyle and standard four - physical environment and safe systems.

Accredited Provider

This is a provider that is funded by the Australian Government and has been recognised as meeting the accreditation standards in the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.

Action Plan

An Action Plan provides information to facilitate appropriate assessment and referral of services via the My Aged Care portals.

Activities of Daily Living

Activities of daily living refers to those ordinary day to day things we do like showering, dressing, cooking, shopping, doing the laundry, caring for our pets or garden or getting ourselves appointments etc.

Additional Services

Some aged care homes (nursing homes) offer all extra services rooms. Others offer a range of different room types, including a number of extra services rooms that might be part of a separate building or wing, for example. Even if you don’t choose an extra services room, you can still choose to pay for any additional extras on a fee-for-service basis.


An abbreviation for activities of daily living.  Activities of daily living refers to those ordinary day to day things we do like showering, dressing, cooking, shopping, doing the laundry, caring for our pets or garden or getting ourselves appointments etc.


If you have already lost the ability to make reasonable judgements about managing your estate and you don’t have an enduring power of attorney in place, the state government (the relevant Office of the Public Guardian or Public Advocate) can appoint an administrator to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf.  An administrator cannot make personal and lifestyle decisions, such as where you live or what health care you may need.

Advance Care Directives

An advance care directive is a written document that records your wishes concerning the medical treatment decisions you would like to be made, should you become unable to speak for yourself due to illness or injury.  

Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning is a process designed to help you think about, discuss and plan for the medical treatment you would prefer in the event that you become too ill in the future to express your wishes. It is not euthanasia.

Aged Care

Aged Care is the personal and/or nursing care that older individuals living in Australia may receive in order to support them to stay as healthy and as independent as possible. Aged Care is delivered by a Residential Aged Care Home (Nursing Home) or Home Care.

Age Pension

This is financial support offered to older Australians, supplied by the Australian Government.  The Age Pension also includes a range of concessions aimed to reduce the cost of living for Australians elderly.

Aged Care Commissioner

The role of the Aged Care Commissioner is to review certain decisions made by the Aged Care Complaints Scheme including examining complaints about the Scheme’s handling of matters under the Complaints Principles 2011. The Commissioner can also examine complaints made about the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency.

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA)

This peak body represents ‘mission-based’ - not-for-profit and faith-based - providers of aged care homes (nursing homes); home care and community care services and housing and support for people with a disability and their carers.  ACSA represents “over 1,100 church and charitable and community based organisations providing accommodation and care services to over 700,000 older people.”

Aged Care Complaint Scheme

If you – or family members or others - 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.  Since January 2016, all formal complaints go directly to the office of the independent Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.  It is often referred to by its short name, Complaints Commissioner. 

Aged Care Funding Instrument

The Aged Care Funding Instrument is the means by which Aged Care Homes (Nursing Homes) receive their funding from the government.  Also referred to as the ‘ACFI’,  assesses an individual’s care needs in a Residential Aged Care Home (Nursing Home) as ‘nil’, ‘low’, ‘medium’ or ‘high’ across the three funding categories.  These categories are Activities of Daily Living, Behaviours and Complex Health Care.

Aged Care Home (Nursing Home)

An aged care home (nursing home) is a place where you live permanently and receive aged care.

Ageing in Place

This is a practise that allows a resident of an aged care home (nursing home) to stay in the same facility even if the care they require changes.

Approved Provider

This is an organisation that has Australian Government funded aged care services.  This may be an aged care home (nursing home), but can also include home care and flexible care too.

Basic Daily Fee

When living in aged care homes (nursing homes), there are a series of fees that are charged.  The basic daily care fee covers day to day living costs such as meals, laundry, cleaning and utilities like power and basic telecommunications.


We make decisions for ourselves all our adult lives and we expect to continue to make our own decisions, regardless of our age. But there are some situations and certain kinds of decisions where it may not be possible; particularly if we become unwell.  In legal terms, your ability to make important decisions yourself is referred to as your ‘capacity’.

Care Plan

A Care Plan is developed by the health professionals caring for an individual about their care needs and how they will be met. This is done in consultation with an individual and their family or a friend as they choose.

Client Record

The client record is created and located on the Government’s My Aged Care website.  It contains all your relevant details in one central location, including details about you and your carer(s), your assessments, your support plans and information about the services you receive.

Combined Income and Assets Assessment

The combined income and assets assessment requires you to provide details of your personal financial situation to work out whether you should be able to contribute to the costs of your care and accommodation and, if so, how much.

Consumer Directed Care

This is a type of care where the resident is included in the decision making about the care they receive based on their individualised budget.  Residents also have more of a say in the way the care is delivered and managed.

Daily Care Fee

Also known as the Basic Daily Care Fee, this is payable by all residents of Residential Aged Care Home (Nursing Home)


The Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP) is simply a refundable accommodation deposit (RAD) converted to a daily payment.  For some people, it might be a better or easier option than paying a lump sum up front.

Decision Maker

There are several different types of legal representatives you can appoint as your substitute decision makers, depending on what roles and responsibilities you want them to have.  There is some variation in the terms and titles used in different states and territories but the main roles include, Enduring guardian, Enduring power of attorney, Administrator, Guardian – public or private and Nominee.

Deemed Income

Deemed income refers to a nominal, assumed rate of income earned from bank accounts and other financial investments – as opposed to the actual earnings - that the Department of Human Services uses when assessing your income.  This means that if you ‘actually’ earn more than the ‘deemed income’, the extra amount is ignored.

Dementia Care

Dementia care is a term given to the type of care provided in an aged care home (nursing home) to someone suffering from dementia.  Dementia care may include a dementia specific unit that provides a safe wandering environment as well as being secure.  The dementia specific unit may also have staff that are specifically trained and skilled in dementia care and management.  It is worth noting that not all people with dementia need to be in a dementia specific unit.

Dementia Specific

An Aged Care Home (Nursing Home) that caters to residents with dementia or other similar conditions either across the whole service or in a designated area.

Department of Social Services (DSS)

The Department of Social Services has a diverse range of responsibilities including overseeing the funding and accreditation of Aged Care Homes (Nursing Homes).


Anyone going into an aged care home (nursing home) on either a permanent or temporary basis will need to have an ACAT to find out if they are eligible.  The only time you don’t need an ACAT and are eligible straight away is if the aged care home (nursing home) is completely privately funded.  You are not able to get any government funding assistance in a privately funded aged care home (nursing home).

Enduring Guardian

An enduring guardian is a person you appoint to make decisions about your healthcare and lifestyle on your behalf, in the event that you lose capacity to make those decisions yourself.

Enduring Power of Attorney

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints a trusted person (referred to as ‘the attorney’) to make financial, legal and property decisions on your behalf in the event that you lose the capacity to do so yourself.  You can appoint more than one enduring power of attorney.

Enduring Power of Guardianship

Enduring Power of Guardianship is the legal document that authorises a person of their choice to make important personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions on your behalf.

Extra Service Beds

Extra Service Beds are within Aged Care Homes (Nursing Homes) receive approval from the Commonwealth Government to offer a higher standard of services for an additional charge. Extra Service Bed applies to the level of accommodation, meals and activities and not the standard of care. An accommodation bond applies at all Extra Services homes.

Extra Services Fee

If an individual requests or agrees to extra services in their Aged Care Home (Nursing Home) they will be asked to pay an additional Extra Service Fee. The government approves the provision of Extra Services on the basis that a higher level of accommodation and/or hotel type services is provided.  The services can include wine with meals, newspapers, hairdresser, massage, podiatry. Residents will be asked to pay an Extra Service Fee in addition to their Basic Daily Fee.

Financial Hardship Assistance

There are financial hardship provisions available for people who need to move to an aged care home (nursing home) with ongoing costs when they are unable to meet these financial obligations. This is different to being a ‘supported resident’.  If you are experiencing financial hardship you can apply for assistance with accommodation payments, the daily care fee, means tested fee or respite care costs.

Fully Supported

If an individual moving into residential aged care with assets below the minimum permissible asset amount will not be required to pay an accommodation contribution. This amount is currently set at $46,500. You will need have a Combined Income and Assets Assessment with Centrelink and received confirmation from Centrelink of your supported status prior to admission.  Being fully supported is different to having Financial Hardship Assistance.

Full Pensioner

An individual is known as a full pensioner if you receive the maximum Australian Government means tested pension.

Government Subsidised Aged Care Facility

This is a term previously used to describe an Aged Care Home (Nursing Home) subsidised by the Australian Government. All facilities receiving funding from the Australian Government are bound by the requirements of the Aged Care Act 1997.


If you have already lost the capacity to make your own decisions and you have not previously appointed an enduring guardian, the state government can appoint a Guardian to make personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions in your best interests.

High care

A redundant term that was used in the old aged care system.  It described  a permanent high level of care and assistance.

Home Care Packages

There are four levels of Home Care Packages available depending on an individual's specific needs.  All Home Care Packages are delivered on a Consumer Directed Care basis.  The four levels are:
Level 1 for people with basic care needs
Level 2 for people with low level care needs
Level 3 for people with intermediate care needs
Level 4 for people with high level care needs 

Income and Assets Assessment

If you want to go into a Commonwealth-subsidised aged care home (nursing home) and you want the government to contribute to your care costs, you must have an income and assets assessment. The Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will conduct your income and assets assessment based on the information you provide to them.  

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA)

This peak body represents “both private sector and not-for-profit providers delivering retirement living, home care and residential aged care services.”

Living Will

Also know as an Advance Care Directive, this allows everyone involved in the care process to know the wishes of a person with regards to health and medical care as they approach the end of their life.

Low Care

A redundant term that was used in the old aged care system.  It described needing less complex or intensive permanent care and support.

Low Means

If an individual moving into or living in residential aged care is eligible for government assistance with accommodation costs then they are classified as low means.

Maximum Permissible Interest Rate

This is an interest rate set by the government.  It is frequently referred to as MPIR.  If you pay a DAP the amount of interest you get charged is the MPIR.  If a RAD has been paid and are then waiting for it to be refunded back to you, but are kept waiting past the government set 14 days, then the aged care home (nursing home) will be charged interest on that RAD at the MPIR.

Means Tested Care Fee

When living in aged care homes (nursing homes), there are a series of fees that are charged.  The means tested care fee is an additional contribution you might be required to pay toward your day to day personal care and nursing costs.  It only applies to people who are in a stronger financial position and able to afford it.  The amount you pay is specific to your financial position.


This is a commonly used abbreviation of Maximum Permissible Interest Rate.

Multi-Purpose Services

This service provides a combination of health and ageing services for more rural locations Australia wide.  The service may be part of a hospital, or an aged care home (nursing home) or facility.  Multi-purpose services receive funding from the Australian government to deliver these services.

My Aged Care

My Aged Care is the Australian government website that provides information on the Aged Care industry within Australia.  The site also lists all the residential aged care homes (nursing homes) within Australia.


This is an Australian Commonwealth Government website and portal that allows users to access government services online.  Services may include medicare, pensions, ATO, Centrelink, My Health Record, My Aged Care, Department of Veterans' Affairs and National Disability Insurance Scheme.


A nominee is a person you appoint to act on your behalf in conducting business with the Department of Human Services for services like Centrelink and Medicare. 

Non Compliance

A service provider is non compliant when they don’t meet all of the 44 expected outcomes of The Australian Aged Care Quality accreditation.


This is a free service that agedcare101 offers every user.  Through Our101File a user can manage their shortlist in one simple, personalised location, add or remove homes from their list at any time and apply to multiple homes using a single application form.

Palliative Care

Palliative care refers to the medical, psychological and spiritual care provided to an individual with advanced illness who has little or no prospect of cure. Palliative care aims to manage pain and symptoms to ensure the person can have the best possible quality of life.

Partially Supported Resident

If an individual moving into residential aged care has assets over $46,500 and up to $159,423.20 there will be an accommodation contribution payable. The amount of the accommodation contribution will be determined by the Combined Income and Assets Assessment. A means tested fee may also apply dependent on your total assessable assets and income.  Being a partially supported resident is different to having Financial Hardship Assistance.

Partner without ACAT

This refers to an Aged Care Home (Nursing Home) that allows a resident’s partner, who has no ACAT assessment, to live with them at the Aged Care Home (Nursing Home). This is usually an unfunded bed and the partner will need to enter into a private payment arrangement with the Aged Care Home (Nursing Home) since the Aged Care Home (Nursing Home) will not receive any ACFI funding for the bed.

Private Guardian

A Guardian can be a family member or close friend who is able to make personal, lifestyle and medical/dental decisions on your behalf. In this case it is a Private Guardian.

Private Aged Care

This refers to privately funded facilities that provide aged care.

Public Guardian

If the appointment of a Private Guardian is not possible (for example if there is a dispute within the family or suspected abuse) a Public Guardian can be appointed, who is usually a Statutory Official.


This is a lump-sum refundable accommodation deposit – known as a RAD for short.  It is a lump sum payment made to the aged care home (nursing home) that is fully refunded to you or your family when you leave the home.

Referral for Assessment

A referral for assessment is a request for an ACAT assessment for a client. The request for an ACAT assessment is done through My Aged Care. All requests and referral details are recorded from the initial point of contact even if some may not progress to an ACAT assessment.  It also ensures that those with urgent needs are seen in a timely manner. 

Regional Assessment Service

Regional Assessment Service (RAS) conducts a home support assessment for people seeking to access the services of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP).  This is an assessment based on an entire overview taking into account an individual’s concerns.  If an individual does need support, this assessment will identify the services required and then will send a referral assessment and a support plan to a provider on the individual’s behalf.


The term Resident refers to a person who is living in an Aged Care Home (Nursing Home)

Resident Agreement

The resident agreement is a legal agreement between you and the aged care home (nursing home) which sets out the specific terms you have each agreed to, regarding your move to the home. 

Resident Care

Refers to personal and/or nursing care provided to people in a Residential Aged Care Home (Nursing Home). People are provided with accommodation and meals and assisted with the activities of daily living depending on their individual needs.  To maintain their registration Residential Aged Care Homes (Nursing Homes) must meet specified standards of the built environment, care and staffing levels.

Respite Care

If you or your usual carer at home needs a short break you can have up to 63 days of respite care per year in an aged care home (nursing home) but, as for permanent care, you will need an assessment from an Aged Care Assessment Team (or Aged Care Assessment Service if you live in Victoria) to find out if you are eligible.

Reverse Mortgage

This is also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. If a house/ property is owned outright, it is possible to borrow using the house as equity against the loan.  It does not require any repayments on the life of the loan, although voluntary repayments can be made if wished to. The loan has to be repaid when the house is sold or the last surviving borrower passes away.


An aged care home (nursing home) is sanctioned when certain levels of care are not provided.  The failure to provide this care usually falls within two categories; when there is an immediate risk to the health and safety of residents or when there is failure to fix non compliance notifications. 

Screening Process

This happens when you call My Aged Care and they are beginning to ascertain what your requirements are.  Questions could include, any current or future health concerns, how well you are managing at home with your daily life, any safety concerns you have  - personal ones such as fainting or falling or getting hurt or other more general ones, such as security at home or concerns about abuse and any forms of support or help you currently have in place.

Secure Dementia Beds

Secure Dementia Beds are a feature that certain Residential Aged Care Homes (Nursing Homes) may offer.  These are within a fully secure dementia care unit or wing specifically for the care of people with dementia or similar behavioural conditions.

Service Provider

Aged care homes (nursing homes) are run by a wide variety of organisations and companies that are referred to as an aged care provider or a service provider.

Short Term Care

There are two types of short term care, respite care and transition care.

Social Leave

As a permanent Resident in an Aged Care Home (Nursing Home), a Resident is entitled to 52 nights away from the Aged Care Home (Nursing Home) in a financial year without having to pay additional fees. This is known as social leave. An individual may be asked to pay extra fees to compensate the home, should an individual take more than the 52 days leave. This is to compensate the Aged Care Home (Nursing Home) for the loss of subsidies paid by the Australian Government to the home.

Supported Residential Services

Supported Residential Services are privately operated services that provide accommodation and support for individuals who require assistance with activities of daily living. They must be registered with the State Government and are monitored to ensure they maintain certain standards.

The Aged Care Guild

“The Guild’s members believe strongly that a ‘for profit’ group of the major providers focused on advocacy is essential to delivery of the Guild’s mission of sustainable quality aged care delivering consumer choice and affordability.”

The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency

Before they can receive Commonwealth funding, all aged care homes (nursing homes) in Australia have to be accredited and approved by the Australian Government.

The Client

In the aged care system, the person needing the aged care service is referred to as the client.

The Department of Health

This is the Australian Commonwealth Government department charged with the responsibility to oversee the running of Australia's health system including ageing and aged care.  Previously ageing and aged care sit underneath the Department of Social Services but was moved to the Department of Health in 2016.

The Quality Agency’

An abbreviation of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.

Transition Care

If you have been in hospital but you’re not quite up to going home yet, you can be eligible for a short stay in an aged care home (nursing home) where you can get the monitoring and care you need to recuperate and be able to move back home (max 84 days).