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What is the most important thing when looking for care?

The most important thing to think about when you are looking for care is whether the care will meet your specific needs or not.

Last updated: November 26th 2021
Your care could meet physical, medical, social and cultural needs. [Source: Shutterstock]

Your care could meet physical, medical, social and cultural needs. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points

  • Any care you receive should be tailored to your needs

  • Keep this in mind when you are looking for care in a residential facility or home care

  • Below are some simple lists to follow in order to get the right care for you

All care should be tailored to what you need to live happily and healthily and it might involve addressing physical, medical, environmental, social, cultural or other needs.

For example, your physical needs may include help with getting to appointments one day a week, but you don’t need help to get dressed in the morning.

Your medical needs might include help to take your medications and an environmental need could be modifications to help you move safely around your home.

Social needs could be addressed with support to attend community events or activities.

If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander person, or you belong to the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community, part of your needs might be that you have access to culturally appropriate care, delivered in a place where you feel culturally safe and connected.

Aspects which can affect how care meets your needs include your:

  • Mobility

  • Medical and health conditions

  • Mental health

  • Hearing and eyesight

  • Memory

  • Cultural background

  • Home and the location where care is delivered

  • Social network

  • Engagement in the community

  • Interests and hobbies

  • Perception of safety and security

For nursing homes

When you are considering a nursing home, or residential aged care facility, take a tour of the site so that you can see the home and everything it has to offer. You may want to consider a respite stay at the facility so you can experience what it’s like to live there before you make a final decision.

You want to choose a home which you feel positive about, as it is likely to make you feel more comfortable living there and therefore keep your wellbeing high.

Take note of whether the home is clean, fresh and well maintained, as well as the layout of the buildings – you don’t want it to be easy to get lost in your new home.

Get a feel for how residents are interacting in common areas to see whether the home is likely to meet your social needs. If the residents are chatting with each other it indicates a positive community atmosphere.

Consider how the staff interact with residents and with you to see whether they are friendly and supportive.

When visiting individual rooms, notice whether the bathroom is separate or shared, whether your room will have a bed only for you or whether you may have another resident sleeping in your room, and whether the room could also accommodate your spouse if you are looking to move in together.

Assess whether you feel like the room could be your home or whether it feels too much like a temporary hotel or hospital room.

To make sure your specific needs will be met you might like to ask the facility about:

  • Staffing levels during the day and night

  • Staffing qualifications

  • What furniture and provisions (for example for a TV, private phone line or internet connection) are included in the room

  • What the food menu usually looks like

  • What opportunities there are to spend time outside of the home, or even just outside of the buildings while remaining at the facility

  • What social activities are offered

  • What leisure and exercise activities are available

  • What religious services are run at the home

  • What therapists and specialists visit the home (such as physiotherapists)

  • What other services are offered (for example, hairdressing appointments)

  • Security measures the home has in place

  • What the process is if you have a complaint to make in the future

For in home care

Doing your research on home care providers in your area can help with making sure your care is customised in the way that you want it to be.

Make a list of what you are looking for in a provider so that you can see whether providers you are interested in using will meet your individual needs.

The list could include:

  • The amount you are willing or able to pay for the service

  • Your cultural needs

  • The specific types of care you need – for example, help in the garden, help with meals, help with personal care, or transport

  • The credentials or qualifications which you want the provider to hold

  • Any specific times when you will need care – for example, if you need a carer to visit at the same time of day, three days a week

  • The equipment you might need provided, that you would like to hire or purchase from the provider

  • You personal goals which you would like your care plan to reflect

Once you find a provider which can deliver the services you need, make sure your needs are reflected in the home care agreement which is drawn up between you and the provider.

The home care agreement is a legally binding document and will ensure that you get the right care.

If you need help understanding the agreement or negotiating it you can read more here.

You can also seek independence advice from Care Matcher, who can help you find the right services for your needs, on 1300 064 991.

What other important things do you think should be considered when looking into care? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Choosing a home care provider
What to consider when deciding on a nursing home
Choosing between home care or aged care

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