This article will highlight the different types of aged care facilities, their features, and their services. Out of the main types of aged care facilities, namely government-run aged care facilities, non-for-profit Aged care facilities and for-profit aged care facilities, which type is the best and which type you should avoid if you can. After all, when is non-for-profit Aged care better for the elderly…

Having an older person under our care can be quite challenging, especially when the elderly in question is related to us, a loved one, a family member, a friend or someone known. Often we are faced with the challenge of taking care of them because our work and daily commitments come into play.

No matter how much we want to think about it, they will always make us feel guilty whenever we think of moving them to an aged care facility. Especially for the elderly, they might not want to leave the comfort of their homes to an aged care facility.

However, when it is time to make that decision, the onus lies on the caregiver to decide if he or she can continue giving the care or if the help of aged care facilities will be the best. After deciding whether to send them to a senior care facility or not, what follows next is which of the aged care facility to enrol them to.

In this article, we will highlight the different types of aged care facilities, their features, and their services.

Let’s start with government-run aged care facilities – what are they?

What is a Government-run Aged Care Facility?

A government-run aged care facility is one in which the government is fully involved and therefore subsidizes most of its activities. Government aged care homes tend to provide care and support to those who really need it.

By government-run, it means that the government oversees its activities to a great extent. In most cases, the government funds the total cost related to the aged. Hence, no out-of-pocket cost to the person or the family who need support.

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In some countries, it may be the common opinion of the population that the government-run aged care homes are better when it comes to:

  • Managing elderly with delirium or dementia,
  • For requiring frequent emergency department re-admission for long and short term care,
  • Prone to falls and fractures,
  • With a history of medication-related events,
  • Prone to pressure injuries, weight loss or malnutrition.
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Government-funded aged care facilities and services come in different types and shapes.

Types of Government-funded Aged Care Facilities

1. In-home care (care in your home)

This is care provided in your home by government agencies to provide the support that will help you stay independent for as long as possible.

You can receive help for things like personal care, transport, food, shopping, housework, physiotherapy, social activities, and modifications in your home. This can relieve the caregiver of some duties for a while, if it’s a part of a Transitional Care arrangement.

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2. Residential care in government-funded aged care homes

Some residential care facilities, also known as aged care or nursing homes, are fully run by the government. They are government institutions to provide two categories of older people.

These categories include:

  • Older people who can no longer live at home
  • Older people who need help with everyday tasks or health care.

Residential care can be short-term or permanent.

Remember, every citizen may be not eligible to enter for a government-funded aged-care facility as there are strict eligibility criteria. Those facilities are commonly available for those with low-income families and people from vulnerable communities.

3. Short-term care (transitional care)

This is designed to help you get back on your feet after hospital care and improve your well-being and independence after a hospital stay.

This short term care can be received at home, an aged care home or in the community.

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Like with everything, there are good and bad things about government-run aged care facilities.

The Benefits of Government-run Aged Care Facility

Here are the key benefits of enrolling in a government-run aged care facility.

  • Government aged care facilities are considered to have the best average result for being well run.
  • They are known to make residents feel safe, practically and psychologically.
  • Nursing minutes, direct care staffing minutes, total staff minutes, and staff having competence in the care they provide. Simply because they are large institutions and the staff get the opportunity of better exposure.
  • In some countries, the government-run aged care facilities had better averages than other aged care facilities in areas like unexplained weight loss (including significant weight loss), pressure injury prevention (with all four varying degrees of severity), and deep tissue injury prevention.
  • The residents of government t aged care facilities are very free to make complaints about issues like health care personnel, consultation, and communication when compared to other types of aged care facilities. However, whether you would receive a favorable outcome for the concern you raised is always a question, regardless of the type of the aged-care facility.
  • They are well funded, sometimes overfunded and over resourced, although staff and the residents doubt that is the case.

What is a Non-for-profit Aged Care Facility?

A non-for-profit aged care facility is designed primarily to assist the elderly, especially those who can no longer help themselves as a result of aging, mobility issues and sicknesses like diabetes, hypertension, body pains, depression, dementia etc.

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They are usually run by not-for-profit organizations or charitable organizations, or such groups. Many of these groups are faith-based, and some of which are city or state-run.

Most of these nonprofit organizations usually have a faith-based mission statement, which states their mission, values, and directions. The groups running these nonprofit aged care facilities do not affect their activities, but the residents still carry out activities that are related to them.

For instance, a residence run by a religious group will most likely offer religious-based activities particular to a religion, like mass or church services, confessionals, bible studies, and prayer groups. So if you choose to enroll your loved one into a non for profit aged care facility run by a religious organization, he or she may need to partake in the activities. However, in most cases that is not a must.

The sole aim of non-for-profit organizations is not to run after profits. For this reason, any money generated or remaining after the residents have cleared the expenses is usually reinvested into the business and the residence. In other words, the profits stay in the house to meet and exceed the needs of residents.

How Big Can a Non-for-profit Aged Care Facility Be?

It depends…

Non for profit residences are usually small, but in some cases, most established aged care facilities are non-for-profit. For example, in Australia, non-for-profit facilities are top-rated and one of the mainstream.

These facilities give room to establish deeper and more meaningful relationships with the staff and other residents. This will help your loved one have a very good experience, get to meet people in the same condition, and have a more happy experience.

In addition, their enrooted values will make the health care providers take good care of each of the residents.

Moreover, since non-for-profit aged care facilities are not solely concerned about profit, they usually employ enough staff that will give the residents a good experience and special care.

This also makes people believe that the level of care provided by these none for-profit organizations is usually great. Definitely, better than for-profit aged care.

Best to explain by comparing non-for-profit with for-profit nursing homes.

What is a For-profit Aged Care Facility?

What differentiates for-profit and non-for-profit aged care facilities is that in the case of a for-profit is run by corporations and businesses controlled by shareholders.

They are for-profit, which makes their priority being shareholders, thereby making the residents need come second. It has been observed that the majority of the nursing homes are for-profit in most countries, but in the case of Australia, non-for-profit get more prominence.

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Their goal is to provide enough return to the shareholders, and that may lead to constant tension as they constantly battle between what is best for residents and what is best for profit margins. Facility managers are charged with watching labor and overtime hours whilst vigorously pushing for Medicare, and ACFI reimbursements and longer patient stays.

Another prominent thing for-profit aged care facilities are known for is overbilling. By overbilling, it means that they charge the government or Medicare for things they didn’t actually do or provide.

For example, billing the government for treatments residents didn’t even receive. In the end, you might observe that the treatment your loved one was meant to receive, which was actually paid for but was not given.

In every nursing home or aged care facility, staffing is very important. Research carried out in the 10 biggest for-profit nursing homes showed that they underemployed 37% registered nurses than nonprofits. This means that your loved one might not receive the full and personal care that will aid recovery and happiness due to inadequate nursing staff.

Also, in some cases, it has been discovered that in some for-profit aged care facilities, the management usually urges the staff to reimburse when clinically inappropriate. By this, it means that they make very elderly sick patients to undergo lengthy therapy so that they can receive the reimbursements.

For example, in the USA, in a Life Care Nursing Home in South Carolina, an 80-year-old resident who was unable to control her head or eye movements was put in a standing form for more than an hour and a half and also forced to undergo physical and occupational therapy. It led to her death two days later — one of the sad stories, which question the age care quality in the USA.

In another Life Center in Florida, recorded a case of a 92-year-old man with lung cancer who was made to engage in two hours of physical speech, and occupational therapy on the same day he was found to be spitting out blood. This was in order for the for-profit facility to be able to get reimbursement. This ended badly because that patient died afterwards, too.

Moreover, bedsores, restrains and over medication are mostly seen in for-profit aged care facilities because of understaffing. Again, understaffing can lead to neglect and abuse, including dehydration, malnutrition, negligence, fraud, and wrongful deaths.

Therefore, you should ensure that your loved one is strong enough to do certain things for themselves if you decide to enroll them in a for-profit aged care facility.

This is how a Japanese Nursing Home is like…

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How Do You Differentiate Between For-profit And Non-for-profit Aged Care Facilities?

At this point, you might have decided on the services of the aged care facility you want to use. However, it is important to note that you cannot differentiate between the two at first glance. It is not that simple!

This means that you might not get all the information you need on which type of aged care facility it is by just touring a facility. So, always clarify, and event inquires through the government authorities.

For you to decipher, you need to carry out a small research. For a quick discovery of the business model of a nursing home, you can visit the Medicare website. On the website, you can easily search for a nursing home using zip code to access information about health care quality, accreditation standards, safety inspection records, and other important data.

Immediately you click on the nursing home, you will be directed to a section that indicates ownership. A for-profit nursing home will have the Label “For-profit – corporation” while non-for-profit nursing homes will have the label “Non –profit- Corporation’.

Remember, in some countries, some facilities even may run without proper licencing or accreditation. So, better be suspicious first, than being sorry later.

How Do You Choose The Right Home For Your Loved One?

Both for-profit and non-for-profit nursing home have their individual weaknesses and strengths, so for you to choose a home, it is always advisable that you visit the home of your choice, and make certain personal decisions.

You can carefully observe the following qualities of a good nursing home:

  • Carefully check how the staff interacts with the residents

Observe how attentive and sympathetic they are to their residents. Determine how many staff members are on duty at any given time and carefully observe the various roles they play.

You can also check how many of the staff provide direct care and how many registered nurses are available on the flow.

  • Check the extent of the neatness
  • Are the apartments or rooms private?
  • Are the rooms furnished?
  • Is the home pet-friendly?
  • How clean is it? Any funny or unpleasant smells?

How strong are the amenities in terms of washing and changing bedding, laundry, housekeeping, non-medical transportation, medication management, individually controlled temperature, modifications allowing wheelchair or walker
access, grab bars in the bathroom, beauty salons, 24-hour security, library, private dining rooms, fitness center, etc?

  • Observe the attitude of the residents; how happy and calm are they?
  • Are the residents quickly attended to?

Always ensure that you give yourself time to research and observe nursing homes before getting your loved one in. The essence of trying to enroll your loved ones in a nursing home is equal to give them a good experience and ensure that they are well taken care of.

Having this in mind, you can ensure to check all the homes in the neighborhood carefully.

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When is Non-for-profit Aged Care Facility Better For Its Residents

Generally speaking, non-for-profit aged care facilities will be better for people who seek to have personalized care for their loved one.

For elders who are very weak and will need personal care, non-for-profit will provide them with the highest care and quality.

Also, non-for-profit will also be suitable if you want your loved one to stay with people of like mind to avoid loneliness. This is because charitable organizations and religious organizations usually run non-for-profit. These charitable organizations and religious organizations provide some interesting activities and religious activities which will help keep the residents busy and occupied.

Furthermore, non-for-profit organizations are usually cheaper (but not always), so if you are looking for an aged care facility that will be much affordable for your loved one, then you can enroll in a non for profit aged care facility. Definitely, at least in most cases, they provide value for money.


Choosing an aged care facility for your loved one always proves more difficult than we imagine because there are so many things we will have to consider. Ranging from staffing, cost, care, etc.

I hope this article will help you make a good decision that will benefit both you and your loved one. Whether you choose a for-profit aged care facility or a non-for-profit aged care facility, what matters is that you already know what to expect from each of them.

Lastly, there is nothing bad in letting your loved one enrolled in an aged care facility if that is exactly what will benefit them.