Moving a family member into Aged Care is usually a very difficult task. Often the need arises following an illness or injury, the result of which is that a loved one can no longer care for themselves in their own home. There is often little time available to research and make decisions (particularly if a hospital is involved), as the hospital faced tries to move them along to a facility which can provide a longer term solution.
For many people, moving a family member into an aged care facility will be their first contact with the aged care industry, and this can be quite daunting. The pressure of finding the right home and doing so quickly, combined with the concerns for the wellbeing of a parent make for a stressful combination.
We spoke to Janeene Lycett of Chesalon about the difficulties families face when choosing an Aged Care facility, and asked her how she would go about choosing a place for her parents.
Who would you talk to at the facility to get comfortable with the how it is run?
The Facility Manager and the Care Manager are the most important people to get to know from this perspective. You need to feel that you can have open lines of communication with them to ensure your parents will be looked after, that any issues you raise will be dealt with, and that you will be notified if any issues arise. It is important that they are able to provide you with feedback on your parent and their care.
If you are not able to easily communicate with these people, there would be concerns regarding how effectively they are able to communicate with their staff and therefore how effectively the facility is managed.
Where would you look for independent information on a facility?
- Their corporate website.
- A Google search of the organisation – what are their values and are these consistent with the any independent reports or news items found on them?
- The annual report on the organisation. This is important to check on the financial health and well being of the organisation, because having gone through the process of finding a suitable facility you do not want to have to repeat the exercise because the facility closes due to financial difficulties.
- Social workers at the hospital – they will have a good feel for local facilities, so be sure to ask their opinion
- The Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency. This is the federal organisation charged with accrediting and auditing aged care facilities. You can read about the latest inspections and accreditation audits conducted on any facility.
- Department of Health and Ageing. Look for any Sanctions or Notices of Non-Compliance imposed on a facility. These include historical notices so you can see if facility has a history of not meeting appropriate standards.