Residential care paperwork and waiting lists

Once you know which residential care facilities you prefer, you need to place your family member or friend on the waiting lists.

Waitlisting - how does it work?

To do this you will need to provide each facility with:

A copy of the Aged Care Client Record

This is completed during the aged care assessment and outlines the health and care needs of your family member. It also confirms that they are eligible for residential care.

A copy of the facility's application form

The booklet '5 Steps to Entry into Residential Aged Care' includes a common application form which is often sufficient, although some facilities prefer their own. It is wise to check.

The common application form - a handy hint

If you have already filled in the common application form, ask the facility what additional information they need. Try to negotiate with them to accept the common application form by agreeing to complete just the extra information their application form requires.

Carers and families seem to grapple most with the section on finances. Know that until you submit all the paperwork, your family member is usually not considered to be on the waiting list.

When the waiting list is closed - a suggestion

When a residential care facility has a large number of people on its waiting list, it may choose to close the list. It will not accept any more names or applications until the list is reopened. The best advice is to look for other suitable facilities in your area or close by.

Helpful advice from carers and families

There is nothing quick or easy about waitlisting. It can be a confusing and exhausting process. Here is some helpful advice from people who have been through this:

  • Simply keep at it - persistence is the key
  • Remember to take time out for yourself when you need it
  • Read through relevant parts of the booklet '5 Steps to Entry into Residential Aged Care'. This was written to help families make sense of what they need to do
  • Keep a copy of any forms you provide to a facility in case they get lost. You won't want to fill them in again!
  • Once on the waiting lists contact the facilities every so often to update them on your situation - it may help them to prioritise your family member when a vacancy arises.
Who should be involved in waitlisting?

Many older people requiring residential care are unable or reluctant to take on the tasks involved. If possible try to involve your family member or friend in the process. Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Talk to them about their wishes and preferences
  • If possible take them to visit some of the facilities
  • Ask the facility if you and your family member can visit for lunch or afternoon tea
  • If unable to visit, bring them brochures to look at and talk to them about what you liked and didn't like. Hear their thoughts
  • Ask them to fill in part of the application form or complete this with them
  • Encourage them to make as many decisions as possible.

Frequently much of this is left to family - generally one family member. It's amazing how quickly people duck for cover!

Finding the right residential care facility and then waitlisting is a huge job for one person. Where possible share these tasks between family and friends to reduce the stress and strain involved. Confronting difficult tasks together has often been known to draw people closer.

For more information, read the fact sheet titled, How to know what residential care will cost.