Major Factors when Choosing an Aged Care Home
Many people find the process of choosing an aged care home very time-consuming, and often daunting. Quality of life and the costs associated with aged care do matter to many people. When you search for an aged care home, you’ll likely want the services that meet your needs. You don’t want this major transition to affect your quality of life. There are several factors to consider when choosing an aged care home:
Ask the aged care facility what their nurse to resident ratio is at all times of the day. Sometimes aged care homes will have a small workforce overnight. Also, consider asking what the carer to resident ratio is at all times of the day. This might impact on response time when you need support.
Is there a policy on answering of the call bell/ buzzer and the time that it’ll take to receive a response?
Ask about the staff skillset and if they’re able to meet your current needs. For example, you may have extra needs such as requiring support when mobilising. You could also discuss who’ll administer your prescribed medications.
Many aged care homes don’t have a nurse administering the medications. It’s important to consider that nurses are knowledgeable about medication administration.
Meals and Dining
Find out about the food on offer. Has a dietician who specialises in nutrition for the elderly put the menus together? Will you have to go to the dining room for each meal or is there the option to eat your meals in your room at no extra cost? Can a family member join you for a meal in the dining room?
Activities of Daily Living
If you need help with activities of daily living such as showering, how often will you get to have a shower? Will it be daily, or every three days? You have the right to ask these questions and to know what to expect before you make a decision.
How often will staff tend to your bedsheets, and how often will they clean your room? This may be less than your usual routine. You can negotiate these services with the aged care home.
Socialising and Entertainment
What activities are on offer at the aged care home? Will you enjoy participating in those activities? Are there health and well-being programs on offer, and does the facility ever change the activities program? Many people don’t have the opportunity to go to a shopping centre to buy essential items. If this is the case for you it’s worthwhile asking how you can get items delivered to you.
Will there be outings and if so, how often?
Do people who have similar needs to yourself live there? Will you be with people who have similar interests to you? If so, this will give you the opportunity for companionship and friendship?
Are there entertainment options at the aged care home? Cable television such as Foxtel can be great for entertainment. Facilities such as a library can also be a wonderful opportunity for entertainment.
Presentation of the Aged Care Facility
Another aspect to consider is the appearance of the aged care facility and how well it’s maintained.
Holistic Health Care Needs
It’s also important to look at your holistic health care needs when choosing an aged care home. You might like to consider the following when you do your research:
- Is there a resident doctor or a visiting General Practitioner who attends the aged care home?
- Will there be a dental service on offer?
- Is there a Podiatrist that comes to the aged care facility?
- Will there be a resident Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist?
- Is there a hair salon and a visiting hairdresser?
- What are the health services that are available at the aged care facility?
- Can you see a Dietician or Nutritionist at the facility?
- Is there a visiting Psychologist or social worker who attends the aged care home?
Extra Health Service Costs
Besides the provision of allied health services, you may also wish to consider the costs involved with extra health services. Will these extra health services be a part of your regular fees? If not, ask how much the out of pocket costs are for extra services such as large meals or allied health.
Additionally as a consumer of aged care services, it’s important to know that you have rights. If you need more information about your rights, go to the Department of Health website. It’s important to know your rights before you enter into any agreement with an aged care facility.
Finally, get as much information about Residential Aged Care as possible when deciding on the nursing home that’s right for you!