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Asking the right questions in aged care

Are Registered Nurses employed on site at all times? What social and recreational activities are available? Are cultural food choices catered for? What happens if my care needs change? Are you able to provide a palliative care approach in the facility?

Pictured left to right: Rita Martin, Helen Macukewicz and Brett Holmes from NSWNMA, Sevinc Izmirli and Chris Lacey from PICAC and MCCI
Pictured left to right: Rita Martin, Helen Macukewicz and Brett Holmes from NSWNMA, Sevinc Izmirli and Chris Lacey from PICAC and MCCI

Making choices about aged care services can be complex and overwhelming. A new resource ’10 Questions to ask’, is trying to make the journey into residential care a little easier by helping consumers ask the right questions when considering their options. 

The ’10 Questions to ask’ series, initiated by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) and created in collaboration with nurses, doctors and experts with experience in aged care, was launched at the New South Wales Seniors Festival last week. 

Topics covered include questions about facilities and lifestyle, cultural needs, palliative care, staffing, contracts and fees, and GP services in residential aged care. 

General Secretary of NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, says the project will arm consumers with the right questions to ask when making the journey into aged care. 

“Research shows that those entering residential aged care facilities are older, frailer and have more complex care needs, while staffing and skills mix throughout the sector is reducing,” he says. 

“Representing many nurses and assistants in nursing who work in the aged care sector, we are cognisant of the changes occurring at a state and federal level, and unfortunately not all of them have been in the interests of delivering a high standard of quality care. 

“As the aged care sector moves further down the path of a consumer-led care model, we are hopeful the 10 Questions series will assist consumers to ask the right questions when looking for suitable care.” 

Mr Holmes adds that the organisations collaborating on the '10 Questions to Ask' believed the project would improve standards of care and clinical outcomes throughout residential aged care facilities. 

“Educating consumers is a very important step in improving standards in the aged care sector, which can help prevent unnecessary presentations to our emergency departments that are already being stretched to capacity,” he adds. 

The ‘10 Questions to Ask About Your Cultural Needs in Residential Aged Care’ leaflet was prepared by Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra (MCCI) Partners In Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) program, and is aimed at people from a non-English speaking background and others with culturally specific needs. 

 Chris Lacey ,General Manager of MCCI, hopes the new information resource will empower consumers and carers to ask the right questions when considering residential aged care options.   “Most residential aged care providers do a good job to help consumers and families understand the services they offer, but it can be a complex and confusing process. 

“That complexity is amplified for multicultural communities who may have specific cultural or language care needs; this information resource is designed to help consumers know the questions to ask so that they can determine how their cultural needs will be met and make informed choices about their future care.” Mr Lacey says.

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