Key takeaways

  • Immediate care and support are provided by the aged care facility following a resident's passing, ensuring dignity and respect.
  • Families are guided through the process of handling personal belongings and cherishing memories.
  • The RAD is fully refundable and processed within 14 days post-notification, subject to conditions.
  • Essential notifications to government services and institutions are crucial and guided by Services Australia.

Understanding the Journey: When a Loved One Passes Away in Residential Aged Care

Losing a loved one is a deeply personal and challenging experience, especially when it occurs within a residential aged care setting. At Brightwater, we understand the importance of handling these moments with dignity, care, and compassion. This article aims to guide families through the process that follows the passing of a resident in residential aged care, focusing on the handling of personal belongings and the details surrounding the repayment of the Residential Accommodation Deposit (RAD), if applicable.

Immediate Steps Following a Passing

When a resident passes away, the primary focus of the aged care home is to ensure that the resident is continued to be cared for and the family have time to grieve and spend time with their loved one. During this time, the home’s staff are there to offer emotional support and assist with any immediate needs the family might have. The care team will liaise with the family to make arrangements for a funeral service provider to take the loved one into their care.  The funeral service provider will then provide care for the resident and support their family and friends through the funeral process.

Handling of Personal Belongings

Personal belongings play a significant role in the quality of life for our residents, often being a source of comfort and a connection to their history and loved ones. Following a resident's passing, the family or nominated representative is given time as agreed in the residential aged care agreement to sort and pack through these items. Brightwater ensures a respectful approach during this process, offering assistance and guidance as needed.

We receive many generous offers from families to donate their loved one’s belongings. However, whilst greatly appreciated, Brightwater are unable to accept donations or gifts from families. The team are often able to guide families to other organisations who are seeking these types of donations.

Residential Accommodation Deposit (RAD) Repayment

Many residents may have paid a Residential Accommodation Deposit (RAD) upon entering an aged care home. The RAD is a lump sum payment that is fully refundable upon the resident's departure from the facility or, in this context, upon their passing. According to My Aged Care, the RAD (less any allowable amounts deducted over the care period) must be refunded to the estate of the deceased resident within 14 days of the facility receiving proof of probate of the residents will or letters of administration.

If the room has not been vacated within this period, the refund process might take a bit longer, with the exact timeframe depending on individual circumstances and the terms outlined in the resident agreement. Our administrative team works closely with the family to ensure that all necessary documentation is completed promptly to facilitate the refund process.

Navigating Notifications and Contacts After a Loss

In addition to the immediate care and arrangements within the residential aged care home, there are several important notifications that need to be managed when a resident passes away. Services Australia provides guidance on who needs to be contacted, which is crucial for ensuring that all necessary legal and personal affairs are orderly addressed. The family or the executor of the deceased's estate should inform government services like Centrelink and Medicare to terminate benefits and services. Additionally, notifying financial institutions, utility providers, and the Australian Electoral Commission is necessary to update accounts and cease ongoing services or obligations. This process helps streamline the administrative aspects of a loved one's passing, allowing families to focus more on healing and remembrance during this poignant time.

Continued Support for Families

Brightwater is committed to supporting families not only during the residency of their loved ones but also through the transitions that follow. If families require extra support, bereavement support services are available to help navigate grief and find solace during these trying times. Families often reach out to their general practitioners or other community organisations including Palliative Care WA. We understand that each family's journey is unique, and our approach is always one of empathy, respect, and understanding.

A Compassionate Approach

At Brightwater, we strive to make the process surrounding a resident's passing as smooth and supportive as possible. Recognizing the emotional toll of these moments, we are dedicated to providing a compassionate and caring environment for both residents and their families. If you have any questions or need further assistance, our team is always here to help.

In these moments of farewell, we are reminded of the importance of care, dignity, and respect for every individual's journey. It's a time to reflect, to remember, and to honour the life of your loved one, knowing that at Brightwater, you're never alone.

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