Aged Care Assessment
Getting support for your loved ones at an aged care or nursing home should be an experience that brings peace of mind and confidence rather than distress. Getting full time support for your ageing parent doesn’t mean they have to fully give up an independent or active life. Quality aged care homes offer;
- Frequent and varied activities to maintain social connections
- Strong community atmosphere and inclusion
- High quality food to meet individual tastes and requirements
The 5 steps to getting started:
Step 1 = Aged Care Assessment
If things are becoming increasingly difficult and/or unsafe for loved one to continue living at home, you may want to consider into aged (or nursing home) care.
It’s important to note at this point that retirement villages are different to aged care homes. Retirement village residents live independently, whereas aged care residents have daily domestic and personal assistance and 24/7 clinical support in a dedicated care home.
As part of this first step, the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will meet with you to discuss the types of care that will be most appropriate. The comprehensive assessment can be organised through your doctor, another health professional or directly through the Aged Care Assessment team.
The assessor will ask questions about:
- What support you already have and if that will continue
- Your health and lifestyle and any health concerns
- How you are going with completing daily tasks and activities around the home
- If you have problems with your memory
- Any issues relating to home and personal safety
- Family and community engagement
- Speaking to your GP or other health professionals
The assessor can also:
- Consider you for other types of services that meet your needs
- Give you information about service providers that may offer the care you need in your area
- Discuss if you might need more support so you can live in your own home, or other options such as an aged care home
Read more comprehensive information on the ACAT assessment.
Step 2 = Meet with your preferred options
After the ACAT assessment, you are ready to start looking at aged care home options.
When deciding on an aged care home, it is important to find out if the nursing home has the services you require, now and into the future. The best way to find a place that suits you is to research and take a tour of a few homes to find out:
- What the accommodation is like
- What types of care, services and activities they offer (It’s important to know the type of care and level of support your loved one will need at this point: permanent care, dementia care, palliative care, short residential respite care)
- What type of community and involvement they offer for residents
- How they can best service your needs
- The fees payable for care and services and an explanation of what it means
- Accommodation prices and explanations of what it means
- Any additional services they offer
- Talk about the application process
- The overall atmosphere of the place
You should give yourself a good amount of time to ask any questions that you may have (maybe prepare questions before and after you visit). Taking a tour is also a great opportunity to meet some of the other residents and hear first hand what life is like in that home.
Families will often choose an aged care home that is near them to allow quick access to see their loved ones.
Step 3 = Complete the paperwork
Now is the time to complete the paperwork on your chosen residential aged care home.
The last item on the stage 2 checklist was to talk about the application process with each home, so you should have a fair idea of your preferred home’s process.
The team at your selected aged care home should be on hand to guide you through completing all the necessary paperwork. They will also explain the costs and funding associated with the process.
The Australian Government contributes to the cost of aged care services. You’re expected to contribute if you can afford to. Costs vary for different types of care and different service providers. There are no standard costs for aged care services.
How much you pay depends on:
- Your financial situation
- The number and types of services you receive
- The service provider’s fees
To get a financial assessment regarding your financial situation and to find out if you are eligible for government assistance with your fees and accommodation payments contact the Department of Human Services for an income and assets assessment.
Step 4 = Enter your new home
Once you’ve chosen a room in your new aged care home and started moving in, it’s time to decide on the personal touches that you would like to add through personal items and furniture.
After you move into your aged care home, staff should encourage you and your family to sit down and discuss the level of care required and develop an individual care plan. The plan outlines your care needs and instructions on how to make sure these are met, which could include;
- Doctor/dental needs
- Other health specialists required
- Dietary requirements
Step 5 = Get involved
A quality residential aged care home should provide a strong sense of community and belonging to help nurture the physical and mental wellbeing of residents.
It’s highly encouraged that family members (of all ages) get involved in the different activities and events held at the homes and there may even be opportunities to become a volunteer.
If you’d like more advice on how to raise the subject of aged care with a loved one, visit myagedcare.
Some information sourced from: myagedcare.gov.au