The questions you should ask about aged care

Before moving you or a loved one moves into aged care, there are a lot of questions you should be asking about costs, the facility and the level of care.
Aged Care
There are a number of questions you should as before you or a loved one enters aged care.

Several organisations have joined forces in New South Wales to put together a series of leaflets, giving advice on the questions you should ask before moving a loved one into aged care.

Getting advice about aged care can be tricky, particularly if you’re looking to do so urgently, and the leaflets aim to help you with the questions you need to ask.

The 10 Questions to Ask leaflets cover six different areas of aged care including staffing, GP services, cultural needs, palliative care, contracts and fees, and facilities and lifestyle.

General Secretary of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association Brett Holmes launched the leaflets at the NSW Seniors Festival last week.

He said the process of transitioning a loved into aged care was no “simple task” and often compounded by “raw emotion”.

“Educating consumers is a very important step in improving standards in the aged care sector, which can help prevent unnecessary presentations to our emergency departments that are already being stretched to capacity,” Mr Holmes said.

“As the aged care sector moves further down the path of a consumer-led care model, we are hopeful the 10 Questions series will assist consumers to ask the right questions when looking for suitable care.”

The leaflets were written by doctors, nurses and aged care experts, who’ve seen first hand how challenging it can be to get the answers you need when it comes to aged care.

So, what questions should you ask before a loved one enters aged care?

Well, here are a sample of some of the questions covered in the 10 Questions to Ask leaflets.

  • What is the nurse to resident ratio for each shift?
  • Will medications be administered by a registered nurse?
  • Will residents be cared for by the same staff so they get to know them?
  • Will I have to pay to visit my GP surgery?
  • What happens if I need a doctor at night?
  • Are there specific house rules that you need to be aware of that may differ from your routine?
  • What are the accommodation arrangements like?
  • Are family and friends visiting at the resident’s convenience encouraged?
  • Do I need an advance care plan?
  • If I need equipment to help with my comfort or problems, will the facility provide it?
  • What are my accommodation fees?
  • Beyond the basic daily care fee, accommodation fee and meanstested care fee, what fees am I being asked to pay?
  • What happens if I can’t afford to pay?
  • What social and recreational activities are available?
  • Can I have visitors at any time?
  • Will I have a say in how the home is run?

The leaflets cover 60 different questions, each of which might have some relevance to you or your loved one.

For more information about the leaflets or to read them in full, visit the 10 Questions to Ask website.

  1. Missy  

    Also: Do any doctors visit, if so who, how often, can I contact them to discuss issues/medication (often your previous doctor will not be willing/able to visit the facility and it may be too difficult for the resident to visit them at their office)? Where are the meals prepared/cooked? Here or elsewhere and shipped in? What is the menu? Are fresh vegetables/salads offered or only cooked veges? Is assistance provided with eating if required? Is the amount eaten monitored? Is what is eaten monitored to ensure a balanced diet? How do you care for ‘difficult’ residents? Do you have the facilities to care for ‘difficult’ residents or do you say you do not have the facilities and force the family to find alternative arrangements. Can I see a copy of your contract? What do you ask to be included in the contract as guarantee of payment? (One facility wanted two Sydney properties worth over $1M each to be encumbered to ensure payment – one wasn’t enough even though the RAD was only $450,000). Most importantly go and visit the facility beforehand and if at all possible go at meal time to see what the quality of food (and drink) is like. One facility would only give water with meals unless the resident refused and asked specifically for cordial or fruit juice – difficult for someone with dementia – and especially mean as they were charging extra daily fees for special services which supposedly included alcohol with meals – not much use for most residents who take medication that precludes the use of alcohol.

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