20 August 2014
Top Tips for managing the impacts of reform: New Resident Information
Explaining the new payment methods, means testing and other changes to residents will come with its fair share of challenges as we all familiarise ourselves with the new frameworks.
These top tips will provide you with a succinct and easy to implement starting point to ensure that the key documentation – the Residential Aged Care Service Agreements – are up to date.
Aged care reforms implemented since 1 July 2014 have had significant impacts on aged care providers. Revising your Residential Aged Care Agreements is a critical step to ensure that your service manages the changes.
Review Resident Agreements for low/high care distinction
Providers may wish to seek independent advice on whether the removal of the low care/high care distinction will alter the intended effect of an existing resident agreement. For example how an agreement specifies the care and services offered, or the circumstances in which a resident may be asked to leave is historically specific to their type of care, so may need revising with the removal of these distinctions.
Use plain and simple language.
The Residential Agreement is a legal agreement between your organisation and your residents. Minimise the risk of misunderstanding and confusion by ensuring that agreements are written clearly and in ‘plain English’.
Ensure (at least) the following compulsory details are included in your agreement:
- The name of your aged care home;
- The policies and practices used to set your fees and charges;
- The level of daily fee you will ask the resident to pay;
- Any extra services that have been agreed, and their costs;
- Any circumstances where the resident might be asked to leave and how your service will help the resident find somewhere more appropriate;
- The resident’s rights and responsibilities in your aged care facility;
- Your aged care home's responsibilities to all residents;
- How your organisation will deal with any complaints that a resident or their family may make; and
- Any other matters agreed between your resident and the aged care home's manager, within the requirements of the Aged Care Act 1997.
Develop a list of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ to ensure transparency between parties
It is important in all contractual agreements that the resident completely understands what they are signing, particularly as a result of industry reform. FAQs specific to the Aged Care Reforms encourage clarity and mutual understanding. Have this list readily available (print copies and/or on your website) for new residents and their families. Examples of FAQs include:
- What is a Refundable Accommodation Deposit?
- How is the Refundable Accommodation Deposit amount determined?
- What is a Daily Accommodation Payment?
- How is the Daily Accommodation Payment calculated?
- Can I go on holidays?
- How often will my Means Tested Care Fees be revised?
Include a checklist
Attaching a clear checklist to the Agreement ensures the resident fully understands what’s required of them; encourages them to make the necessary enquiries; and further ensures the information they’re providing is accurate. This checklist should take the resident through the key elements of the Agreement and let them know where and how they can find additional information.
Examples of checklist items include:
- Do I understand my rights and responsibilities?
- Do I understand what decisions I need to make within 28 days of entering care?
- Do I understand the 1 July 2014 reforms and the user pays system? CLICK HERE for more information.
- Have I considered the value of seeking independent advice to ensure I have my assets structured in the best way to maximise affordability of the accommodation and care fees?