What questions should I ask an aged care home?

Last month, we covered how to approach the aged care conversation with an ageing parent. If you are now at the stage where you need to choose an aged care home, you may be overwhelmed by how to choose the best home for your loved one.

In this blog post, aged care expert and My Care Path CEO Dana Sawyer, outlines the key questions to ask an aged care home before arranging an inspection.

Is there a Registered Nurse onsite 24/7?

While there is no legal staff to resident ratio requirement, a widely-accepted minimum standard is that a Registered Nurse should be available onsite 24/7.

When looking at potential aged care homes, this is one of the first questions you should ask, before arranging a tour.

You can also ask if residents are regularly looked after by the same staff members or if the provider uses agency staff.

Long term regular staff that consistently look after the same residents allows both the resident and the care worker to build a caring relationship and for the carer to observe changes in the resident’s condition.

What are the care options?

Aged care homes no longer differentiate between ‘high care’ and ‘low care’ needs for residents, however there are still a number of care options depending on the provider such as residential aged care permanent and respite care, home care and serviced apartments.

Ask the home what care options are available, you may find there is an aged care service available that you hadn’t previously considered and may even be more suitable for you.

What are the main fees and charges?

Before you begin calling aged care homes, it’s a good idea to get your head around the common acronyms for the most common fees and charges in aged care.

We have a blog post that breaks down the most important fees to understand, which can be read here.

You’ll want to understand terms such as Basic Daily Care Fee, RAD, DAP, Additional Service Fees and Care Contribution Fee before reaching out to facilities.

An aged care placement consultant can assist you to negotiate and compare all fees between all options you may be considering.

Once a preferred option has being chosen and before admission it may be beneficial to engage an aged care specialised financial planner. They can assist you to understand how best to structure your financial resources to the best possible outcome for your individual circumstance.

Do you cater for my mum/dad’s special needs?

Take into consideration if your parent has any special needs or lifestyle preferences, such as being from a culturally-diverse background or preferences for gardens. For example, if your loved one will struggle to communicate and understand English, ask the home if there are any staff members who speak your parents’ native language.

There are also a number of aged care homes that cater for certain ethnic groups, which prioritise hiring staff that speak specific languages and also have ongoing cultural events and celebrations.

Remember – aged care is voluntary

Aged care is a voluntary process, no one can be forced into aged care against their will. It’s also important to remember there is no lock in contracts forcing your loved one to remain in a facility for the rest of their lives.

Residents are able to have up to 53 days/ nights social leave every year. Also, independent residents can come and go as they please, provided that the nursing staff are aware when they are leaving and for how long of course.

Families are encouraged to take mum or dad out for the day, get them to spend a few nights a week at home if it’s an option and take regular outings.

If at any point you feel the aged care home is not suitable for your family member, you can move them into a different residence if you’re not happy.

Overwhelmed by all the options? Work with an experience aged care consultant

It can be easy to go down the rabbit hole of potential aged care homes, especially when you have an ageing loved one to care for at the same time.

It can help to look at a few options thorough a comprehensive aged care directory such as Aged Care Online, which can help you find homes based on your needs i.e. type of care, suburb etc.

You can also work with an experienced, aged care consultant who can do the hard work for you and present you with a short list of suitable aged care homes for your individual needs.

Consultants can also help you arrange aged care home tours, compare and negotiate RADs and sort through government and aged care provider paperwork.

My Care Path has a national team of aged care consultants, which you can contact on 1300 755 702 or get started now.