Skip to content
A-Z of Aged Care For Beginners

A-Z of Aged Care For Beginners

When it comes time to seek either residential or in-home Aged Care for either ourselves or a loved one, much of the terminology used is unfamiliar and sometimes confusing. Acronyms are rife, and when there is an underlying level of anxiety around this time, baffling language can often make things much worse than they need to be. To help those who are new to the navigation of Aged Care, the team at Healthcare Australia (HCA), one of Australia’s leading providers of Health Services, including in-home care services and aged care workforce, have put together the essential A-Z of Aged Care.



Accreditation is an important part of the Australian Government regulation of Aged Care. The accreditation process evaluates the standards and quality of aged care delivered by providers against the National Quality Standards.  If the provider of your aged care is not accredited (residential aged care and home care), look somewhere else for care.


Basic Daily Fee

The minimum fee required by residential care facilities for every person entering the facility. The fee is linked to the Aged Pension and currently sits at approximately 85% of the Aged Pension, or $52.25 per day.


Care Plan

Many would be familiar with this term from GP visits where a long-term illness was managed using a strategy over time. This applies to residential facilities also. For in-home care, this term is related more to home care packages and involves input from the consumer regarding the inclusions they would like to see in their care.



A term that is used in everyday life, Diversity and inclusion are terms you will hear more and more in an Aged Care setting following the recent implementation of the new Aged Care Standards. These Standards have been developed to ensure everyone, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds are included in decision making processes and the delivery of their care.


Enduring Power of Attorney

A legal term to describe a legal agreement to appoint an individual/s to make decisions on your or a loved one’s behalf.

An enduring power of attorney must be made by someone who has no doubt cast over their mental capacity when making such a decision. It is commonly put in place when a person can no longer physically attend to their property and financial matters. Not having Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) documentation makes it exceedingly difficult for decisions to be made on behalf of a person who loses the capacity to make decisions for themselves. An Enduring Power can be changed.


Funding instrument (ACFI)

A term you may hear used in a Residential Aged Care Facility. The Australian Government contributes a large percentage of the costs of operating approved residential aged care homes. The actual amount paid is based on documentation of residents’ care needs and can impact the amount that residents need to contribute themselves.



Guardianship is often required in aged care when a carer is looking after a person who can no longer look after themselves, usually when caring for an older person moving into an aged care facility.

A Guardian will make a range of critical decisions, including lifestyle, health and medical decisions on the other person’s behalf. Financial decisions are not included in guardianship and are generally made in Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney Agreements.


Home care packages

The level of care received in the home environment is dependent on your needs. The services provided are grouped into four home care package categories:

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

There is much debate about wait times for Packages, so expect this to be reviewed in some way after recommendations from the Aged Care Royal Commission are passed in 2021.


Independent Advocate

You may not have heard this term. An Independent Advocate is a person from an advocacy service (there are many and some available at no cost) who is involved in the decision-making process by speaking for the consumer and representing their wishes when the consumer may not be able to. An Independent Advocate has no relationship with the person they are representing or with whomever they are dealing.


Living Will

A living will is also known as an advance care directive and clearly tells everyone involved in the care process what a person either approaching the end of their life or with health issues,  wants in regards to health and medical care. For example, do you wish to be resuscitated in the case of a significant cardiac event?



We all know what a meal is, but there is currently a big focus on nutrition for the Aged. In Residential facilities, this includes a review of the costs spent on meals and the need to spend more to allow nutritional needs to be met. It also includes the provision of culturally appropriate meals. If you are an aged person in the community seeking support, this may include food services such as Meals on Wheels to help maintain a healthy, balanced diet.


National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth)

          Is the legislation which establishes:

  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme, and
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme Launch Transition Agency (known as the National Disability Insurance Agency or NDIA).

Among other things, the NDIS sets out:

  • The objects and principles under which the NDIS will operate
  • How a person can become a participant in the NDIS
  • How a participant’s individual, goal-based plan is prepared and reviewed, including how the NDIA approves the funding of reasonable and necessary supports
  • How a provider can become a registered provider of supports
  • The governance arrangements for the NDIA, including its CEO, Board, Independent Advisory Council, and Actuaries
  • A process for internal and external review of certain decisions made under the NDIS Act.



A state of mind


Palliative Care

Palliative care is a term used to describe the care provided for people who have an advanced illness, with little or no chance of cure. The goal of palliative care is to achieve the best possible quality of life for the individual, their family, and carers.


Refundable Accommodation Contribution (RAC)

In Government-subsidised Aged Care Facilities, RAC is the lump-sum contribution to accommodation costs made by the consumer. It is refunded in full when you leave the aged care home. A resident may also opt to pay a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP) instead of a lump sum if they wish, or a combination of both.


Specified care and services

If you live in an aged care home, you must be provided with a range of care and services to you at no extra cost. These are known as specified care and services. Care and Services must be provided in a way that reflects the Aged Care Standards. This provision is measured in the Accreditation process.


Transition care

An older person being discharged from hospital may not be ready to return directly home and may still require some short-term care. Transition care is provided in this case, with the aim to provide short term support to enable a return to fully independent living at a later date.




Not a new-aged, fandangle idea, but a strategy to enable our aged to live with independence, autonomy and quality of life. It is based on the assertion that even with the downside of growing old- including perhaps ill health and disability, we still maintain the desire and capacity to live a full physical, social and emotional well life. Wellness focuses on prevention, optimising physical capacity and active contribution and looks to find the best way to support the individual in achieving that.



Younger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC)

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring no younger person (under the age of 65) lives in residential aged care unless there are exceptional circumstances.

On 25 November 2019, in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety interim report, Neglect, the Australian Government announced strengthened Younger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) targets and an intention to develop a strategy to meet those targets.

The Australian Government's YPIRAC targets, apart from in exceptional circumstances, seek to ensure there are:

  • no people under the age of 65 entering residential aged care by 2022;
  • no people under the age of 45 living in residential aged care by 2022; and
  • no people under the age of 65 living in residential aged care by 2025. 
Next article Aged Care: 5 tips to prepare your team this Christmas