Matina Papathanasiou: What are they asked to commit to when they make that decision?
Deirdre Ashe: A person would be asked to sign a residential care agreement, and that’s probably for their benefit more so than ours. They do an asset assessment, and if they’re a non-pensioner we can do it. If they’re a pensioner then Centrelink does the asset test for them.
There will be an accommodation bond associated with moving into low care. And then they’re given the choice of whether they want to commit to paying that bond. That bond is as I said, refundable, less $18,500, over a five year period. So if they only stayed three months then you would only have three months of that $18,000 drawn down, and we’ve earned interest for the three months that we hold the bond.
Then there’s a daily fee that they commit to which is based on 75 per cent of the pension and then the Department contributes the majority of the funding, assessed on the actual care need of the resident. The funding is paid like that.
So if you’re going in with a broken hip – you go in with a trauma and then with the care that’s provided you actually might be quite well after that. Then they’re faced with a decision, do they stay? Because this has become their home. It’s hard for the provider as well because they’re now healthy and attract less funding from the government, so they’re only contributing a small daily stipend to their care, and taking up a bed that we could actually earn more money on.
But obviously most people stay because they’ve made the commitment to sell the family home, to come into aged care. They really don’t have anywhere to go back to.
Guy McAliece: A lot of people move into retirement villages with possibly the misunderstanding that might give them some entrée to the operator’s home care facility.
Deirdre Ashe: However, the independent living units that we’re building at the moment, which are retirement villages, they have wide access for wheelchairs. Quite often they would have a rail running through the ceiling that would allow lifters to operate. So effectively low care or high care could be actually delivered in the person’s home. And the government provides community care packages and each package suits both low care and high care. So there is a future there.