dinsdag 1 maart 2016

What to Look for in an Aged Care Facility

Nursing homes or high care facilities exist to help care for elderly people who require more help on a daily basis than is available within their own homes from community care services. Generally if you can't independently mobilise, shower, dress and feed yourself - and if you are unsafe being alone in your own home (due to dementia, falls risk, chronic pain) - a nursing home admission is likely.

During my recent trip to Australia, I accompanied my mother on visits to nursing homes planning for my father's discharge from hospital. Following his stroke, my father needs two people to move him anywhere, remains very confused, and requires daily intervention to meet all his needs. As an aged care social worker I have visited many nursing homes over the years - and knew what to expect on this visit. My mother did not have the same experience and found the visits - or at least seeing older people at their most vulnerable - confronting.

To help her through this experience, we needed to keep a practical focus. To do this I had a mental checklist of questions that I asked at each facility visit. This list included the services on offer, the routines, the rooms, the medical care, the food, the cost, and the chance of an available room. Knowing my father's preference to sit in the sunshine and his fear of ending up in a nursing home - added to my personal list of what to look for.... that is, a room with access to the outside in a facility that looked nothing like an old style nursing home and had friendly, professional staff.

After some searching I found a useful checklist online for family members seeking a bed in an aged care facility. The list is comprehensive and will need to be adapted to what is available in each country. It will also need adaptation to meet the personal likes and dislikes of the family member needing admission. https://www.medicare.gov/files/nursing-home-checklist.pdf

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