Placement consultants can take the hassle out of finding the right nursing home for you
Most consultants have good relationships and connections with local aged care homes and know the ins and outs of facilities
If your family is experiencing conflict over aged care choices, a placement consultant will be able to assist with any family disputes
Moving into residential care is a situation most people postpone for as long as possible until the point of necessity, often leaving little time to organise everything.
If some initial planning were to be undertaken it could soothe the transition and reduce the stress at what is a critical turning point in people’s lives.
Planning should include obtaining information on the financial implications of entering residential care, gaining information on the facilities available in your area and ensuring Wills and Powers of Attorney and Guardianship are up to date.
How a placement consultant can help
An aged care placement consultant has extensive knowledge of facilities in their area and knowledge about the placement process. They can often find a home faster and one that is suited to your requirements and needs.
Through their established relationships with aged care homes, they are familiar with the culture of each home and, most importantly, they have advanced knowledge when vacancies become available.
By knowing the culture of each facility and getting to know you, placement consultants can determine which homes would best suit your needs and preferences, and make prior applications to these homes.
Without the assistance of an aged care placement consultant, you or your carer would need to constantly phone the facilities of your choice to demonstrate your eagerness and commitment to obtaining a bed in that home.
Negotiate and advocate for you
The aged care placement consultant advocates on your and your family’s behalf and is able to assist with the whole assessment process.
They can complete all the necessary paperwork and application forms for entry into an aged care home which is helpful, as the applications can be quite daunting. They may also suggest seeking financial advice where required.
An aged care placement consultant helps share the load at this crucial time, can significantly speed up the time it usually takes to find a placement at a suitable home, thereby easing the transition into residential care
Resolving family disputes
Placing a family member into care can be life changing. There are many factors – physical, social, psychological and financial – that may arise which families sometimes find too difficult to cope with by themselves.
For example, it is not uncommon for various family members to each have their own opinion on which aged care home is more suitable. Also, there is often one family member who is responsible for the majority of the negotiations and practical support, but every family member wants their opinion considered when it comes to making choices. Such situations can result in family conflicts.
There are specialist health professionals who offer independent, non-judgmental service, which can explore the subtleties of each situation and offer caring support in addition to counselling and conflict resolution.
Family members can sometimes make great assumptions about the needs of one another without having honest conversations and preparations in place.
Families can become divided by their beliefs and opinions about what is ‘best’ for their elderly loved one.
Feelings of guilt
The ever increasing momentum that develops during this tumultuous time may not end when you have finally found an aged care home for your loved one.
In fact, it may signal a deeper guilt and remorse of placing a loved one in care. Guilt can sometimes be the hardest emotion to cope with.
Many psychologists support the theory that guilt is a learned emotion that we develop as we move out of childhood.
It is not one of the basic emotions such as anger, fear or happiness. But whether it is something learned or inherent it is a tough emotion to manage.
Finding professional support may relieve you from negative beliefs and assist in providing coping skills. Such skills can successfully continue the loving companionship of a family’s journey toward their loved one’s end stages of life.
The majority of placement consultants offer counselling and social support.
Choosing a placement consultant
Finding a suitable aged care home, for yourself or a loved one, can be emotionally draining and a placement consultant can make the process more manageable.
Placement consultants are most happy for you to call them for a chat and understand you may talk to a number of consultants before making your choice.
You can be open in your discussions because, as health professionals, they have a policy of confidentiality.
Their professional fees may differ and it is reasonable to advise them if you are working to a budget.
Some placement consultants charge by the hour, whilst others offer a package of services for one fixed price. Ensure that you are advised of all the possible fees and costs up front.
Finally, make sure you feel comfortable talking with the placement consultant because your professional relationship will be significant in them understanding what you want and organising the appropriate care services.
You’ll find a range of well qualified placement consultants in your area on the Aged Care Guide.
What are you looking for in an aged care facility? Tell us in the comments below.