If working in aged care is complex and challenging, then spare a thought for the residents and their families who come to us looking for an admission into one of our Aged Care Residences. More often than not, they make the contact because of a significant health event affecting someone they love and care about. When they make that call they don’t expect that they will end up having to become a ‘quasi’ social worker, case manager and financial advisor all rolled into one. To add to the burden decisions always seem to need to be made quickly to secure the bed or to respond to a hospital pushing for discharge.
Here are our top 3 tips for families and those helping families to manage the transition to residential aged care:
- Take the time to sit as a family to discuss and agree what will work for the whole family and for the person who is making the transition. This should include a discussion around what are the deal breakers in terms of amenity, services, location, care, room size, activities, pastoral care. Families should also think about how easy it will be to visit, what are the visiting hours and policies of any future home and whether or not you need to work on a plan to ensure that visits are spread out across the week and not just everyone all at once.
- Get online, get on the phone and speak to the independent experts in all things aged care. This may include government websites such as My Aged Care or Planning Ahead Tools. It should also include getting some financial information from a good independent advisor. Centrelink also provides assistance with this through their Financial Information Service. It is really important to understand how aged care works in Australia before you commit to anything and before you sign documents or submit any aged care paperwork. Also, make sure you ask any provider to explain their residential agreements so that you are clear about their terms of business and their charges, especially their billing and accounts procedures on departure.
- Make sure that all your future planning documents are in place. This should include understanding who holds the Enduring Power of Attorney and Guardianship and if an Advanced Care Directive has been made. These important documents will enable responsible people to sign residential care agreements and to manage affairs for the person entering care. This could be things such as cancelling telephone accounts, cancelling Foxtel subscriptions etc.
Good pre-planning is the key to a successful transition to residential aged care. In a perfect world we would have these discussions well before they were ever needed, however, it is never too late to start a conversation.
For more information about the Residential Aged Care Accommodation and Services offered by TriCare, call us on 1300 TRICARE to speak with one of our Client Services Specialists available 24/7.