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Common questions about Opal and Aged Care

The decision to move into residential aged care can sometimes be a difficult one. Here are some of the frequently asked questions we receive, most often about residential aged care fees but many questions on our homes and life at Opal.

If you cannot find the answer to your questions here please fill in the Enquiry Form below

  • Family pets are welcome to visit, although we ask our families to ensure that pets do not enter the dining room during mealtimes. In some circumstances, you may be able to bring your pet to live with you although this needs to be agreed in advance with the General Manager.

  • Yes, laundry services are provided in all our homes. We offer a complimentary labelling service so that your clothes are clearly labelled and can be returned to you as quickly as possible. Please ask a team member to arrange labelling of any newly acquired items prior to the items being used to ensure they do not go missing.  If you prefer a labelling option other than the one provided at the home, we may ask you or your representative to make arrangements, and to cover any additional costs. As we use industrial laundry machines, we recommend that delicate items of clothing be hand-washed by you or a family member or friend.

  • If you would like a private telephone, please speak with the General Manager to determine whether the home is able to provide you with a phone or other ways to stay connected to your family and friends. You may be asked to cover the costs of installation as well as rental of the landline. You are also welcome to bring your own mobile phone and charger if you prefer.

  • Yes, we support every resident to maintain social continence, where continence may be compromised. Following a comprehensive assessment, our nurses will allocate the appropriate high-quality disposable products as part of our care and services.  If you have a personal preference for a brand or if your doctor prescribes a continence aid that is not provided by us, these must be supplied and paid for by you or your representative.

  • No, you don’t need to have an Enduring Power of Attorney to move into an Opal home however we encourage you to consider appointing a trusted family member or friend to help manage your affairs and/or make health, medical and lifestyle decisions on your behalf if you are no longer capable of doing this for yourself.  If you would like to explore these options, the General Manager in the home can refer you to relevant resources.

  • At Opal, we value your thoughts and the opportunity to work with you to resolve any issues you may have. That’s why you’ll find it easy to raise a complaint, make a suggestion, share a compliment or just have your say.

    Here are some simple avenues to provide your feedbacks:

    1. Speak to a team member in your home.  This is often the fastest and easiest way to communicate your feedback and to resolve an issue.
    2. Arrange a time to speak with the General Manager in your home either in person or by phone.  Our General Managers appreciate the opportunity to work with you to action your feedback.
    3. You can submit your feedback using the online form or by calling 1800 767 074 and your feedback will be routed to the most appropriate manager and you will receive a reference number for tracking purposes.

    If you feel that your issue has not been resolved to your satisfaction, you may call 1800 767 074 and request an internal review from a senior member of our Opal Support Team.


  • Additional Services are those not otherwise covered by the basic daily care fee and accommodation fees. These include things such as a greater choice of beverages, meals and snacks to suit your individual preferences, enhanced leisure and recreational opportunities and other wellbeing options.

  • Your Agreed Care and Services Plan (Care Plan) is a personalised plan for your health and wellbeing that is developed by you (and your representative if you have one) in partnership with our clinical team and, if you wish, your family members. Your Care Plan documents your care needs and choices including your food and drink preferences, personal hygiene requirements, specialised therapies or services, mobility aids and other considerations. We will ask you (and your representative) to read and sign the Care Plan to confirm your agreement. This will be reviewed throughout the year.

  • We invite you to enjoy the responsible consumption of alcohol, although this is subject to any particular health needs you may have and should be a decision taken in consultation with your medical practitioner. Many of our homes also offer a happy hour from time to time and provide alcoholic beverages to celebrate milestones and other special occasions.

  • If you bring your own electronic device and would like access to the internet, please speak with the general manager in your home about the capacity to provide Wi-Fi access.

  • You may choose to continue to use the services of your own local doctor if he or she agrees to visit your care home. If your treating doctor is unable to visit the home, please ask the care manager for a list of medical practitioners who do visit so that you can select a doctor, as we cannot make this decision for you. If you wish to continue seeing your own doctor at their clinic, you may need a relative or representative to accompany you to external appointments.

  • You are welcome to bring electrical items into the home including radios, DVD players, electric shavers, mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Under Workplace Health and Safety legislation, electrical items must be checked by an electrician and certified safe to use. This process is known as ‘testing and tagging.’

    • High quality person-centred care with a focus on meeting your individual needs.
    • A qualified nursing team on-site at all times to attend to your clinical and emergency needs.
    • Fresh meals prepared and cooked in the home kitchen by our dedicated qualified chef.
    • Assistance with daily living including bathing, dressing and eating.
    • Access to a range of other health services including physiotherapy, podiatry, optometry and dental.
    • Medication management provided on-site.
    • Individually tailored social and recreational activities to bring joy and meaning to your days.
    • On-site laundry service and Opal cleaning services (not outsourced).
    • Private and companion bedrooms with basic furnishings included.
  • Salons are located within many of our homes and manicures and other spa treatments may also be arranged. For all enquiries, operating hours, prices and bookings, please speak with a team member at reception. Charges for hairdressing or spa services will be added to your monthly fee statement.


  • We encourage you to take as much day leave as you wish, however we ask that you complete the Leave Register on departure and return.

    This is important for our fire evacuation procedure, medication purposes and also so that our care team and kitchen team members are made aware when you won’t be requiring meals and other services.

  • We recognise that food is an important part of your experience in care, so we have developed a nutritious, balanced and seasonal menu with a view to accommodating the cultural preferences and dietary needs of our residents. Where possible, we source our ingredients locally to deliver fresh, quality meals which are prepared and cooked in-home by our qualified chefs.

    We also offer texture modified meals for those who may experience difficulties with chewing or swallowing, or who have experienced an episode of choking in the past. We encourage you to join us in the dining room for meals and enjoy the opportunity to socialise. Please let us know if your family and friends wish to join us for a meal!

  • Some of our care homes are now smoke-free and do not permit smoking. In homes where smoking is permitted, it is in designated outdoor smoking areas and is not permitted in indoor areas. If you choose to smoke, a registered nurse will assess your ability to smoke safely and work with you to determine a smoking plan that includes the appropriate level of supervision, frequency and the safety measures to be taken.

  • Once you have received your ACAT assessment, you can begin applying to as many care homes as you wish, but once you accept a place, it’s important that you let the other homes know that you no longer require their services.

  • Visiting a range of homes is often one of the best ways to decide which home suits your needs. To help you assess the suitability of the homes you visit, we have attached a short checklist at the end of this section. This will help you assess each home and ask some important questions to the providers you meet with.

  • The Department of Human Services (DHS) is the body that determines your financial situation. To do this, DHS conducts a Combined Income and Assets Assessment, which is a form that you need to complete and submit to the government.

  • Respite care is short-term care, including day respite, to provide your caregivers a break from caring when they need it. It can be planned or on an emergency basis and can be used for up to 63 days in a financial year. Many care homes offer day respite, which offers caregivers some flexibility to attend to personal needs and obligations as they arise.


  • The Combined Income and Assets Assessment form (SA457) is an extensive questionnaire with over 140 questions about what you and your partner/spouse own and earn. It’s important to understand that you are considered to own half your assets with your partner/spouse regardless of who holds the title to the assets. As part of your assessment, you will be asked to provide details of all assets owned by both of you.


  • Accommodation Charge (the cost of your room) - These are set by individual homes and varies from home to home

    • Basic Daily Care Fee  (meals, laundry, cleaning and other day-to-day

    costs) – These are set by the Australian Government and is the same across every home in Australia.

    Means-Tested Care Fee (to supplement the cost of your overall care) - These are set by the Australian Government based on an assessment of your personal financial situation.

    Additional Services Fee or Extra Services Fee - (higher-end services and accommodation)

    • These
    • are set by individual homes and varies from home to home.  In some homes,
    • Additional Services or Extra Services are optional and in other homes,

    residents are required to purchase these services as a condition of entry.

    For further information download our 5 step guide.


  • Your fees may change if your financial circumstances change. DHS informs your aged care provider when your fees have been adjusted as a result of a change in your financial situation. Your aged care provider will make the adjustments to your fees and also notify you of the changes.


  • You have up to six months to pay the RAD or RAC. You will be charged the Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP) or Contribution (DAC), which is the government-set interest rate on the full price of the accommodation until the refundable deposit or contribution is received.


  • Your RAD is refundable to you under the following circumstances:

    • If you give at least 14 days written notice of leaving the home, your RAD will be repaid within that period.

    • If you notify your provider in writing more than 14 days before you leave, your RAD will be refunded on the day you leave.

    • If you give no written notice of your departure, your RAD must be repaid within 14 days after your leave date.

    • In case of death, the RAD must be refunded 14 days after the provider is presented with probate or letters of administration.


  • If your care needs change and the home requires you to move to a different bed within the same home, your fees will not change, if you request to move rooms for any other reason, you may either be asked to pay the increase or be given a refund depending on whether the new bed is more expensive or less expensive than your current arrangement.


  • The Australian Government has measures in place to help residents who are experiencing difficulty in paying for their care. If you find yourself in need of help, please call the My Aged Care Information Line on 1800 200 422 for more information.


  • If you visit a home please ask our team for our Opal Enquiry Pack, which will include an application form. You can download it here: or Book a tour here: ……

    Complete the application form and return to your preferred home. If you have any questions or are not sure what information is required or where to get it, please call the home to which you are applying, or you can call our general enquiry line on 1300 362 481 and a team member will assist you.


  • Meet with us before your move-in day to talk through all your needs and concerns. Complete the Resident Agreement and you are all set to move in


  • You have a 14-day cooling off period during which time you may withdraw from the Resident Agreement by notifying us in writing. You will, however, be required to pay any fees or charges accrued during the time you were in the home. We will refund any other amounts that you have paid under the Resident Agreement.


  • Changes can be made to the Resident Agreement but both Opal and you need to agree to the changes.


  • If you are unable to sign the agreement, someone who holds a Power of Attorney for you may complete it on your behalf.


  • The lump sum RAD payment for accommodation is usually made via direct deposit (EFT), direct debit or bank cheque.


  • At Opal, we ask all our residents to complete a direct debit form as this is the easiest, most reliable and trackable way to pay your monthly fees.


  • In some cases, new residents may need to or choose to sell an asset, such as a home, in order to pay the fees agreed to in the Resident Agreement. As it can take some time for these larger transactions to be completed, it’s important to have an alternative means of paying the fees and charges to which you have agreed. As with all financial matters relating to your aged care, we encourage you to seek independent financial advice to ensure that you are able to cover any fees and charges listed in your Resident Agreement to avoid additional stress.


  • A Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints someone else to act on your behalf in matters of money and property. You can get further advice about preparing a Power of Attorney from a solicitor, a community legal centre, a State or Territory trustee company or your local Magistrate’s Court. We strongly encourage all residents to consider appointing a Power of Attorney prior to moving into care so that you have a trusted person in place to make decisions in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself.


  • In the event that you are unable to make decisions about your personal affairs and you don’t have a Power of Attorney in place, a Guardian may be appointed by a State or Territory Government to act on your behalf.


  • Your pension provider, Australian Tax Office, Medicare, Your medical insurance company, Your superannuation company, the RTA for your driver’s license. 

    Your local post office, your bank, building society or credit union, your local office of the Australian Electoral Commission, other aged care homes to which you may have applied, family members, friends and neighbours.

    Doctor and other health professionals, your gardener or lawn mowing person, your cleaner or other home help, meals on Wheels and other community support services.


  • Yes you are required to have a current police check to work in aged care. If you do not hold a valid check Opal can organise this for you as part of the recruitment process.

    We also conduct two (2) reference checks and a medical check which may include pre-employment drug testing.

  • Opal offers formal career pathways across all areas of care, hospitality and lifestyle.  You can progress your aged care career at Opal through a number of pathways supported by our professional development and training programs.

  • Yes Opal has a number of training programs in place to support your career pathway in aged care.

    Such programs and support include:

    • Induction and on the job training
    • Online learning
    • Opal Scholarships Program  - where Opal supports its team members financially towards further studies
    • Traineeships
    • Graduate Registered Nurse Program
    • Internal leadership programs for new, emerging and existing leaders
    • Australian College of Nursing membership discounts


  • Yes Opal offers sponsorship for Registered Nurses only. This usually occurs in Regional areas.