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The decision to move a loved one into an aged care home is always difficult, and only seems to become more complicated when you start trying to find the best place for them. It’s not a decision that should be rushed, but delaying can make things more difficult for everyone involved. To help you out, you should consider these things when choosing an aged care home that best suits the needs of your loved one.

1. Don’t blindly trust online reviews

While online reviews can be tremendously helpful when buying products or choosing plumbers, they should always be taken with a grain of salt – especially when the life and wellbeing of someone you love is in the mix. Before you trust an online review, make sure to check the review site’s policies regarding payment for reviews, verification of reviewers, and any connections to the companies that are being reviewed.

2. Know your resources

There are several Australian government resources available to you that will be very helpful during this process. These include:

  • MyAgedCare – This should be your first stop. This website includes all the basic information about aged care facilities, prices, locations, and services.
  • Australian Aged Care Quality Agency – This body exists to accredit residential care services and home care. You can use the website to search for and read accreditation reports.
  • Department of Health – This page features information about regulatory action taken against approved providers of Australian Government subsidised aged care services.
  • Medicare checklist – This simple checklist is a great way to keep track of everything you need to remember about each facility you visit.

3. Do your research

Before you commit to a facility, it’s a good idea to look into the history of the company running it to make sure they don’t have any known issues. If they appear reputable and your research doesn’t turn up any complaints, then you should feel good about your decision. If, however, you turn up multiple substantiated issues or complaints, then you should move on.

4. What does your money buy you?

It might seem distasteful to place emphasis on money when making this decision, but you don’t want any surprises on your first bill – this is a business you’re dealing with, after all. Ask questions about things like telephone services, air conditioning, internet access, prescription/pharmacy costs, television access, laundry, meals, toiletries, etc.

5. Check up on activities

Many nursing homes will advertise upcoming social activates and outings with posters and flyers. It’s a good idea to make a note of the dates of upcoming activities and make an unannounced visit on those days to make sure that they actually take place.

6. What are their policies?

How much access will you have to your loved one? Can they make phone calls to you or you to them?

7. Ask about the staff

When asking about staff numbers, it’s important that you clarify and make sure the numbers given to you do not include maintenance and kitchen staff. While these people are vital members of staff, they will not have direct contact with your loved one, and will not be responsible for their day-to-day care. Find out how many of the carers are medical professionals, and what your loved one’s access to them will be like.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start to help you find the very best facilities for your loved one.

If you have been through the process of choosing an aged care home, what advice would you give to those just starting to search?

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