Questions to Ask Prospective Aged Care Homes
Finding the right Aged Care Home is important. Use these questions to help quantify whether the home you are looking at, meets your needs.
Whether you’re searching for your own aged care home or looking on behalf of a loved one, finding the right provider isn’t easy. Not only do you need a facility that aligns with your financial means, but it must be somewhere your loved one can happily live out the rest of their days.
Sadly, not all Australian aged care homes offer a comfortable living environment and high-quality care. It’s up to you to do your due diligence when evaluating prospective homes.
The best way to determine whether a facility is a good fit is to do an on-site inspection and ask for more information.
The following questions can help qualify whether an aged care home will suit your needs.
Transitioning into an aged care home can be a trying time. Studies show 50% of people over 60 are at risk of social isolation, and that figure can increase in an aged care home. Regular visits are essential for the emotional well-being of the resident and their loved ones.
Ask what the visiting rules are like, including specific days and times. Compare these to your work schedule to determine whether you’ll be able to visit frequently enough.
If the prospective resident has a beloved four-legged companion, they’ll find it difficult to say goodbye. While some aged care homes allow live-in pets, many only permit visits at certain times or prohibit animals altogether. It’s essential to ask about pet policies and discuss whether they’re a deal-breaker with your loved one.
If an aged care home allows animal visits, ask about the specific rules. For an aged care resident, a visit from a cute furry animal can work wonders at boosting mood and morale.
Food has a massive impact on our quality of life, and our love for tasty tucker doesn’t diminish with age. Ask what kind of meals are on the menu, and seek details on how they can provide a healthy, balanced diet.
Of course, every aged care home will claim its food is delicious and nutritious. Ask if you can sample a random meal to determine whether they deliver the goods. If your loved one has any special dietary requirements or needs assistance eating, find out how the facility will accommodate them.
If staff are run off their feet, they’ll struggle to deliver an acceptable level of care. Ask what their staff to patient ratio is like and how many minutes of care each resident should expect each day.
Some aged care providers may be reluctant to provide this information, especially those with substandard ratios. As a benchmark, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommends an average of 200 minutes of care per resident per day.
Recreational activities are essential for maintaining a high quality of life in your later years. Not only do they alleviate boredom, but they also offer a social outlet for older people experiencing isolation. Ask what recreational activities are on offer, and then compare these with the passions of your loved one.
If the future resident has any niche interests, find out whether these could be catered for. And if you’d like to engage in some activities together, ask whether visitors are allowed during recreation times.
Does the aged care home have enough nurses to look after your loved one?
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) recommends a ratio of 50% personal care workers, 30% registered nurses, and 20% enrolled nurses. In reality, most Australian aged care homes fall short of these figures. Nonetheless, the more nurses on duty, the better healthcare you can expect.
Also, find out whether there’s a doctor on call should your loved one fall ill. It’s worth enquiring about their process for dealing with emergencies, including access to the nearest hospital.
Nursing home fees can be confusing at the best of times. Depending on their financial situation, the resident may receive Government support to pay for their basic daily fee, the means-tested care fee, and accommodation costs.
However, there are no Government supplements to cover “additional” and “extra” services—things like high thread count linen, hairdressing, and special food requests. Find out how much these services cost and crunch the numbers to determine whether you’re getting a good deal.
With so many crucial factors to consider, finding the right Aged Care Home can be a challenge. CareAbout works with a vast network of pre-vetted nursing homes across Australia and can find and arrange tours of Homes that suit your needs. Get in touch with our expert team today to discuss the best options in your area.