Once you've decided on the right time to move into aged care, the next step is to do some reasearch on the various options on offer. Visiting an aged care facility for the first time is the perfect opportunity to get a real feel for the place. Is it clean and comfortable? Are the staff friendly and available to assist you if you need them? Does the facility smell nice? Will your family enjoy visiting you there, and is it convenient enough for them? Will you be able to afford aged care?
These are all questions worth asking yourself when you visit the home for the first time. But there are also a range of questions we’d recommend asking the team – in person – when you’re touring the facility.
Of course, if you’re currently choosing an aged care facility for a loved one (like a parent or grandparent), this guide will totally apply to you, too. These are all questions worth asking, whether you’re searching for a home for you or someone else.
General Questions To Ask When Choosing An Aged Care Facility
- What philosophy of care does the aged care home have? And how do they uphold this in their day-to-day?
- What are the requirements for new employees and/or volunteers at the facility? What do they look for in new employees and/or volunteers?
- How is a new resident welcomed into the facility?
- What are the ‘house rules’ of the facility?
- Is there a weekly activities schedule? If so, what are some of the activities found on this schedule? Can they provide a sample schedule?
- What makes this aged care facility different from others? Is there anything you offer that others typically don’t?
- Can family and friends visit at any time? What are their entry and exit requirements? (ie. Do they have to sign in or out, and are there certain times of the day they are/aren’t allowed to visit?)
- Are pets allowed in the facility?
- How is laundry dealt with?
- Are there people working within the home who can help me with my personal finances?
- Can residents be asked to leave the home?
- Are there any rules around residents with dementia or other specific illnesses?
- Am I able to keep cash in my room? Will it be secure?
- How does meal time work – are there set hours for certain meals? And does everyone have to eat in the meal room together? Can I have my meals delivered to my room? Can I take my food back to my room with me if I choose to?
- How long is the waitlist for the facility?
- Are couples able to share a room?
Medical Questions To Ask When Choosing An Aged Care Facility
- Will someone at the facility develop a care plan for each resident?
- Can family members help prepare the care plan?
- Is there a registered nurse on duty at all times?
- Is there a doctor who works closely with the facility who I can contact if I need them?
- What system does the facility use to dispense and manage resident medications?
- Which forms of pain relief are available to residents?
- What level of complex medical care are the staff able to provide?
- Does the facility have access to electronic health records that can be shared with GPs, hospitals, and other healthcare providers?
- Can I manage my own medications myself?
- If there’s a medical emergency, what happens?
- What policies are in place in relation to sending patients to hospital?
- Does the facility respect each resident’s end-of-life wishes?
- What happens if resident care requirements become more complex?
- What types of medical and/or care services cannot be provided?
Wellness Questions To Ask When Choosing An Aged Care Facility
- Does the facility offer health and wellness activities/opportunities? If so, what are they?
- Is there a gym and/or pool in the facility? How does access to both (or one, if relevant) work?
- Is there a spa, hairdresser, massage therapist, or other wellness services on offer?
- Does the facility have an in-house counsellor or psychologist available to residents?
- How are residents empowered to maintain their independence?
Activities Related Questions To Ask When Choosing An Aged Care Facility
- How much involvement do residents have in deciding on activities and/or the activity schedule?
- Can residents request specific activities?
- Are residents able to spend time outdoors if they want to? What are the restrictions around this?
- Do residents have fun while living at the facility?
- What are some new activities the facility is planning on introducing over the next 12 months?
- Are there opportunities for musical and creative expression?
- Does the facility ever bring in external entertainers (musicians, magicians, etc) to perform for the residents? How often does this occur, if so?
- Is there internet access throughout the facility, including in residents’ rooms?
- Do you offer a newspaper and/or magazine room service? Can the daily paper be found around the facility?
- Does the facility acknowledge and/or celebrate cultural festivals and holidays? If so, how?
Meal Related Questions To Ask When Choosing An Aged Care Facility
- Where is the food cooked? Is it prepared on-site?
- Who is responsible for making resident meals?
- How is seating decided for meals? Are the seats set?
- Can residents choose to eat their own food instead of opting for the facility’s catered option?
- How does the facility adhere to dietary requirements?
- Is fresh fruit accessible?
- Can residents choose what they eat each day, or is there a set menu?
- Are residents able to preview a menu?
- Can family and friends join residents for meals if they’d like to?
- Does the facility ever offer special meals – like barbecues or celebrations?
The sky really is the limit when it comes to question-asking at aged care facilities. These questions are really just a guide, but if you have specific questions or requirements, we’d highly recommend writing them down before your visit so you don’t forget them. Remember: A good aged care facility is one which will focus on you and your care. Your health and happiness should be top priority for your facility of choice; if that’s the case, they’ll likely do their very best to cater to your every need.
If you are getting your living arrangements organised, you might also be considering what will happen when the time comes. Many people choose to prepay their cremation so that their family isn't left with the burden. Speak to the dedicated team at Willed today on 1300 945 533 to understand your options.