Just because a nursing home costs more doesn't necessarily mean it is the best option for you
Some aged care facilities provide different services or amenities that may suit your personal lifestyle
Before settling on a nursing home, make sure to confirm all the related costs for accepting a space in the facility
There are many nursing homes catering to different needs and interests. They can be run by private companies, church groups, charitable organisations or communities.
Also known as residential aged care, aged care home or aged care facility, some nursing homes cater to a specific cultural and linguistic group or offer culturally appropriate services. Others offer specialist nursing care for people with conditions such as dementia.
If you like pets, you may like to choose a home with live-in pets.
While there are many different nursing homes to choose from, the cost and what is included are likely to be high priorities in your decision of which home to choose.
What services are included
Government funded nursing homes must give a certain level of service in order to be accredited. Services included in the nursing home fees are:
The provision of staff continuously on call to provide emergency assistance
Assistance with personal care such as bathing, going to the toilet, eating and dressing
Support with mobility and communication
Help to access specialised therapy services or a health practitioner service
Support for people with cognitive impairment, such as dementia
They also provide meals - including special diets, toiletry items such as towels, washers, soap and toilet paper, and general laundry and cleaning services are also included in the nursing home fees.
While included, you may prefer to use your own toiletries or ask family members or friends to wash your clothes. This will not reduce the fee you pay.
The nursing home will provide beds, mattresses, linen, bedside lockers and chairs. However, to make your room more homely, you are often encouraged to bring small items of furniture and other personal belongings such as pictures and ornaments.
The maintenance of buildings and grounds, utility costs (ie electricity and water) and council rates are always included in the general fee.
Nursing homes also provide a range of social and recreational activities, and rehabilitation support at no additional charge. Spiritual needs are catered for and some homes have a chapel or prayer area available on site.
What’s not included
There may be an extra fee if you require additional care services. These services may include:
Goods to assist with toileting and continence aids
Therapy services such as speech therapy, podiatry, occupational, recreational and physiotherapy
Registered nurses to assess, plan and manage care, including complex pain or wound management, palliative care program, special feeding, dialysis and oxygen therapy
Nursing homes sometimes provide their residents with additional lifestyle services and activities which may attract additional charges like a hairdresser and beautician, an on-site café, and a direct phone line to the bedroom.
Extra service beds
Extra service homes receive approval from the Australian Government to offer a higher standard of accommodation, food and services at an additional charge. The term 'Extra Service' only refers to the standard of accommodation, meals, food and entertainment and not to the level of care. For instance, you may like to pay extra for a bigger room, a glass of wine with the evening meal, or perhaps a greater choice of meals.
Always ask the nursing home what is included in its general fee and what additional services you may need to pay for.
Many nursing homes offer respite care. This is the opportunity for both you and your carer to take a break for a few hours, a day, a night or a few weeks.
You can also use respite care as a way to ensure the home is a ‘good fit’ for you before moving in permanently.
A placement consultant can help you find a nursing home that best suits your needs. They are familiar with the aged care process, know the culture of the homes in their local area and often have advanced knowledge when vacancies become available.
They can also help with the necessary paperwork and application forms.
It is often well worth considering the services of a placement consultant. They can take over a lot of the stress that comes with searching for and transitioning into a home.
You’ll find a range of well-qualified placement consultants on AgedCareGuide.com.au.
Why have you started looking into nursing homes? Tell us in the comments below.