How to Choose an Aged Care Provider

Making the transition to aged care can be a complex and confusing process.

Australia has a large number of aged care providers and there can be significant differences in the quality and scope of the services they provide, making the decision-making process difficult.

Moving to aged care- or any new residence – is a significant change and can be a daunting process for all involved.

What do you need to know when choosing an aged care provider, and what should you take into consideration when making the transition to aged care?

If you or someone you love is getting ready to make the transition to aged care, you may be facing a myriad of questions and choices.

The aged care system in Australia is complex, with a number of providers promising to provide quality, professional care to residents. Choosing a provider can be confusing and expensive and there can often be a long wait time until a place becomes available.

What Kind of Aged Care do I Need?

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The level of assistance you can access will depend on the type of care you require, how independent you are, how much help is available to you through family and friends, and what financial resources you have.

Short-Term Care at Home

You may need short-term or respite care, to recover after a hospital stay or illness, to give you and your carer a break for a short period of time. This type of care can be put in place for a few days at a time through to a few months, depending on the needs of the individual.

Ongoing Care at Home

There are many older Australians who need assistance with day-to-day living, but who wish to remain in their own homes. A range of services exists for people who need this support. These services can be fully privately funded or subsidised by the Australian government, either through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme or  a Home Care Package.

Residential Care

If you feel that you can no longer live independently or need a lot of support to do so, moving into aged care may be the right option for you.

What to Think About When Considering Aged Care

  • Your mental and physical health or that of your loved one including high-care needs for dementia or Alzheimer’s sufferers
  • Dietary, cultural, religious, spiritual and language considerations?
  • Regional/rural location
  • Is palliative care required?
  • Family support available and how close family and friends will be to an aged care facility
  • Where the person going into aged lives and how far that would be from family and friends
  • What kind of care you or your loved one can afford

 

How much you pay for aged care will depend on the type of support you need, the provider you choose, your financial situation and the services you receive.

The first step in transition to government-funded aged care is an assessment, which is carried out to determine eligibility for Commonwealth Government services for older people.

How to Choose an Aged Care Facility

There are many providers on the market – while an aged care organisation may present well online with a professional website and some glossy brochures, but finding out if they are right for you involves digging a bit deeper by asking some more involved questions.

Create a checklist for everything you need to know before you start your search.

Initial Research

Although not necessarily an indicator of the quality of the service, the length of time an aged care facility will at least be an indicator of its stability.

The Australian government has a Find A Provider tool which helps you find providers in your area.  Providers shown in the search results have met the eight Aged Care Quality Standards that have been set down by the government and the aged care industry.

You can also check if a provider has received a notice of non-compliance or a sanction.

Look for customer reviews and testimonials to get an idea of the opinion of other people who use the service.

Questions to Ask

  • What is the ratio of staff (qualified nurses as well as aged care workers) to residents? In Australia there are no laws that ensure a particular staff-to-resident ratio, so this is what you will need to find out for yourself. Are there regular staff who work the same shifts each week, or constantly-changing agency staff? Don’t be afraid to ask to see evidence of the qualifications of the staff who will be providing the care.
  • What access do residents have to allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, chiropodists and psychologists, and what is the frequency of visits from nurses, doctors and other specialists?
  • For high-care residents with condition such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, what are the restraint and sedation rates? (They should be low).
  • Can the facility cater for different religious, cultural and dietary needs?
  • Will the facility allow a short visit (for a fee) to see if their facilities are a good match for the needs of the client?                

 

See For Yourself

You can get a good idea of the way a facility operates by organising an onsite visit. If possible, visit more than once and at different times of the week – once during the week and once on the weekend, and stay for a reasonable length of time.

 Make a note of the number of staff working and how they are interacting with residents. Do residents’ rooms – and the facility as a whole – appear fresh and clean, and of a reasonable quality?

What activities are in progress – or are planned? (Look at notice boards and in residents’ rooms to see what kinds of scheduled activities are on offer).

Is there a dedicated activities room and/or a room where residents can gather with family and friends for special occasions?

Ask if you can observe a couple of different mealtimes to get an indication of the quality of                 the food -is there enough variety and does the food appear to be good-quality and plentiful?

To help you make the right choice, The Australian Government provides advice and guidance on aged care providers.

Are you planning to make the transition to aged care, a smaller home, or to a retirement facility?

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Get in touch today – we look forward to helping you.

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Email our friendly relocations team on info@bluelighthouse.com.au

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