What is aged care?

Aged care is the support provided to older people in their own home or in an aged care (nursing) home.  It can include assistance with everyday living, health care, accommodation, or equipment (Australian Government, 2020).This broad definition encompasses a variety of services and can include:

  • care at home (such as Commonwealth home support program, home care packages
  • short-term care (such as transition care, respite care or short-term restorative care).
  • residential care in aged care homes
  • care of the elderly in an acute care setting.

Services provided may target prevention, treatment, transitional and/or end of life care.

Planning and preparing for student placements in aged care is essential.  You might find it useful to refer to the ‘Preparing for and managing Placements’ section of this website to access general clinical education material to support your preparation.

To optimise the student’s placement experience, teaching and learning activities should be tailored to the aged care setting, and could include the following:

  • Introducing the concept of consumer dignity and choice, self-determination and the need for collaborative planning and assessment with their older clients.
  • Planning for person-centred interdisciplinary care that supports the client’s psychosocial and clinical needs.
  • Ensuring student understanding of communication considerations specific to older people.
  • Ensuring a broad knowledge base of normal ageing and pathologies, and use of evidence-based practice
  • Introducing students to the various funding models that exist in Australian aged care settings and how these funding packages may affect the types of services or care provided.
  • Considering the role of health promotion and the prevention of age-related decline.
  • Outlining documents that define quality care in the aged care setting within Australia 

In this practice context section, you can access:

  • Potential benefits and challenges of hosting allied health student placements in Aged Care settings
  • Resources to support student supervisors and students prepare for placements in aged care settings, including communication considerations and empowering older peoples’ self determination
  • Resources to support the practice of student supervisors and students in palliative care and dementia settings


Please Note: References remain valid until superseded by later research. The resources referenced here are regularly reviewed and are considered current and relevant to the topics presented.

  • Australian Government Department of Health (2019) About aged care.  Retrieved from:
  • Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare (2011). Patient Centred Care: Improving quality and safety through partnerships with patients and consumers. Retrieved from:
  • Australian Governments, Attorney Generals Website (2013). Right to Self-Determination. Retrieved from:
  • Nitz, J (2014) Working with Older People. In Stagnitti, K., Schoo, A., & Welch, D. (Eds). Clinical and fieldwork placement in the health professions.  (2nd edition). Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.
  • The Physicians Consortium for Performance Improvement (2011). Measures Development, Methodology and Oversight Advisory Committee: Recommendations to PCPI Work Groups on Outcome Measures. Retrieved from: 
  • The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (2011). Aged Care. Retrieved from:
  • University of Newcastle, Faculty of Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery (2009). Clinical Reasoning Instructor Resources. Retrieved from:
  • Victorian Department of Health (2011).  Innovative Workforce Responses to a Changing Aged Care Environment. Retrieved from:


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