Last updated 16 August 2016

The residential care agreement

An aged care facility must, if it is government funded, offer every prospective resident a written residential care agreement before the resident enters the facility. Residents, however, have the right to choose not to sign an agreement if they do not want to.

The agreement is required to be in plain English and be easy to understand. Section 59(1) of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) (Aged Care Act) outlines what issues need to be covered.

When entering into an agreement, the care provider must make sure that the care recipient understands the agreement, in particular the terms relating to:

  • the care recipient’s rights and responsibilities
  • the services to be provided to the care recipient
  • the fees and other charges to be paid under the agreement (s 14 User Rights Principles 2014 (Cth)).

In addition to the residential care agreement, and depending on the circumstances, a person may be asked to sign:

  • a respite agreement (where a person is entering the facility on a temporary basis for respite only)
  • an extra services agreement, where the provider is providing additional services over and above the standard services set out in the residential care agreement.

Signing agreements

Where the resident is unable to sign the agreement, because of physical or mental impairment, another person may sign on their behalf as the resident’s representative (s 96(5) Aged Care Act).

‘Another person’ is not defined in the legislation, but if a person has lost capacity and cannot understand or sign the agreement, another person, such as an informal decision maker, enduring power of attorney, guardian or administrator could sign on the person’s behalf.

Where a person does not have an attorney, guardian or administrator, these orders can be made by application to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (for further information about instances of a person lacking legal capacity and the relevant laws see the chapter on Laws Relating to Individual Decision Making).