Aged care homes (nursing homes)

As you grow older, you may find that you need more help with day-to-day tasks or health care. If you are living on your own and not able to get out and about as easily as you used to, you may also want some extra company. Sometimes, the best way to receive help and support can be by living in an aged care home (sometimes known as a nursing home) either on a permanent basis or for a short stay (called ‘residential respite’).

You may need help because of an illness, a disability, an emergency, or because of the needs of your family, friends or carer. Staff at aged care homes can help you with day-to-day tasks (such as cleaning, cooking, laundry); personal care (such as dressing, grooming, going to the toilet); or 24-hour nursing care (such as wound care, catheter care).

Aged care homes are owned and run by people who are approved by the Australian Government to care for you. The aged care system in Australia aims to make sure that all older people can receive support and quality care when they need it.

Considering an aged care home

Deciding to move into an aged care home is often a time of stress, high emotion, a longing for the past and uncertainty about the future. It is a challenging and emotional decision for the person moving and their family, friends and carers.

Living in an aged care home

Each aged care home is different. There will be new routines, new environments and new people, all living together under one roof. You may have help with many of the day-to-day tasks that you’ve been used to always doing for yourself, and there will be plenty of social activities going on in your new home.

Multi-Purpose Services for small rural and remote communities

The Multi-Purpose Service programme provides integrated health and aged care services for some small rural and remote communities in Australia.

End of life care in aged care homes

If you are caring for someone nearing the end of their life, who is living in an aged care home, staff will help them to feel as comfortable and supported as possible. Staff in the aged care home can help in developing a care plan to best support the care needs of the person.

Quality of care in an aged care home

Quality indicators measure outcomes of care and services received in an aged care home. Read more about how they may affect you or someone you care for.

My Aged Care

My Aged Care is an Australian Government initiative which supports older people and their families in accessing aged care information and services.

My Aged Care expanded functions:

  • a consistent and holistic approach to needs assessment by a skilled workforce,
  • electronic referrals to service providers that reflect client preferences, and
  • a central client record – accessible by the client, their representatives, and relevant assessors and service providers.

In July 2015 My Aged Care functions expanded to make it easier for people to access information, have their needs assessed and be supported in accessing aged care services.

The central purpose of the expanded functions is to ensure there is a clear understanding of the client’s care needs and the provision of an efficient pathway to relevant services.

To access this information directly, your patient will need to nominate you as a representative for the purposes of My Aged Care. If you wish to access this information, please ask your patient to consider making you a representative when they are speaking with My Aged Care. It remains the intention into the future to allow GPs to view a patient’s aged care information through the personally controlled eHealth record.

Why is My Aged Care relevant to your health professional role?

My Aged Care is likely to be relevant to many of your patients. For instance, you may find a family member who is concerned about an older person and needs to understand the care options available; you may find a patient is presenting with a declining ability to manage their activities of daily-living and need to either plan for the future or access services now, or you may find that there are questions around the sustainability of a patient’s current care arrangements. My Aged Care is available to assist in each of these situations and would encourage referrals.

How do I make a referral to My Aged Care?

Use our online
Make a referral‘ form

You can also add an attachment to the information that you enter into the form.


Call the My Aged Care
contact centre on 1800 200 422


Fax the My Aged Care
contact centre on 1800 728 174

Note: You may like to use the ‘Make a Referral’ form as a template.

My Aged Care may contact you if additional information is needed in order to contact your patient.

The patient does not have to be present for a phone referral, however you will need your patient’s consent before you provide information on their behalf.

What information do I need to provide in the referral?

You will need to provide the following details in your referral:

  • your name and contact details
  • the patient’s name and contact details
  • your relationship to the patient (for example, as a GP or community nurse)
  • information about why the patient is being referred to My Aged Care
  • your patient’s consent to provide their information, or for the contact centre to contact them directly.
  • any information that may support your referral.

Personal information and any associated documents are retained securely within the My Aged Care system and will be appropriately shared with assessors and service providers to support the client.

What happens after a referral is made?

Following a referral from you, My Aged Care may contact your patient to talk about the support they need. Following that conversation, the client may be referred for a home support or comprehensive assessment or directly for services.

For more information

More information about the changes to My Aged Care in 2015, including guidance material, fact sheets and videos, is available on the Department of Social Services website.

There is also a range of free marketing materials to promote My Aged Care, available to order through the healthdirect website.