Nursing Homes

Moving into a nursing home: It’s a difficult
conversation that many of us put off. Hi Mum! Zoe I am not playing the sad old lady in
your nursing home story. Ok! I’ll just find an actress. A nursing home or “residential aged care
facility” is a place where you receive daily assistance with personal care. A nursing home is different from a retirement
village where people tend to live independently. Wait – aren’t we also doing a story on them? That’s right Zoe. Retirement villages also seem to be a complicated
nightmarish hell that we’ll deal with another time. Learn how to bowl or stick to the Mahjong table, you bald prick! He’s probably fine. If the time for a nursing home comes, complicated decisions often need to be made fast. That’s not easy – especially for the
senior who needs care. Typically, that’s a woman in her 80s, experiencing
memory loss or dementia. I hope you’re not suggesting I am one such
nursing home candidate! No, no – I’m suggesting you are such a fine
actress, that you could compel us to believe that was the case, even though it clearly,
clearly, clearly it’s not. Well… I am very good. That’s the original Pippa from Home and Away! The government subsidises nursing homes per
patient. The more care a patient needs, the more funding
the home gets, up to $214 a day. But there are a few issues. Even though funding is allocated
based on each individual’s care needs A nursing home can use that funding for any purpose,
even executive salaries. Only two thirds of this funding is spent on
actual care. And nursing
homes are renowned for their horror stories. Oh god! Told you I was good. That’s too good! I can’t deal with the actual grim reality
of nursing homes! We’re gonna need to sugar coat this. A lot. Wooooah you really can’t deal with reality
can you? Nope! If you’re considering moving into a nursing home it can be really valuable to get help from an
advocate – choose someone you trust who listens to your priorities – to help you through the process. Welcome! The biggest upfront cost is something called The Refundable Accommodation Deposit. This can vary, but the average is $350K. But all I have is this here penny! Not everyone can afford to pay 350 thousand dollars
up front. And a nursing home must provide the option of paying
in daily increments instead of a lump sum. Nursing home subsidies are means tested. And even though your home is excluded from the test the fees can be so high, that many
seniors end up having to sell their home anyway. So do I just have to pay that deposit? Not by Wellington’s Whiskers! There’s also a daily fee and a care fee. On top of that, The Department of Health warns
providers are increasingly charging more fees for things like
“additional care”, “capital refurbishment” “asset replacement contributions” and
other random and confusing fees. Then there’s optional extras you can pay
for too. Would you like to buy a balloon as well? Signing up for these extras can go a ways to alleviating
relatives’ guilt … but might obscure the real level of care
being offered in a nursing home. Oh GOD why are we here again? I am not continuing until someone organises me a new whimsical conceit! Hello! Right well this is sufficiently stupid. So how do you pick a good nursing home? Ooh! A red carpet perfect for rolling! Don’t be sucked in by fancy features when
you’re shown around. A chandelier or grand piano doesn’t indicate
the quality of care. Hey… Where are all the staff? Staffing is the biggest expense in a nursing
home. And it’s very vulnerable to cost cutting. The federal guideline on staffing says it
has to be “adequate” – whatever that means. 63% of facilities with direct care staff report
skill shortages. So it’s really worth asking a lot of questions.
Ask about the patient to staff ratio, how many registered nurses are
onsite at all times and if nurses administer
medicines. Ask whether doctors are available at nights. And try to visit on the weekend. That’s when staffing levels are likely to be at their lowest, and you can really see what you’re in for. Right? Oh great, there’s literally no one here! I’m hungry. Oh no, I am not looking at the reality of nursing
home food. La la la la !!!! Welcome back to My Kitchen Sucks. Tonight you have six dollars to make enough
food to feed someone for a whole day. Umm… that’s impossible. No, the average nursing home spend per resident on food in 2016 was $6 a day. Belissima! How do they feed people properly? Well according to one study, half of all residents in nursing homes are malnourished! So when you’re checking out a nursing home, ask to visit during meal time, so you can see if what they say about the food fits with what’s actually served up.
reason Asking the right questions – and lots of
them – is really important when you’re moving into a nursing home. And make sure you or your advocate keep a
record of the answers you’re given. These answers count as representations
under the Consumer Law, so you’re protected if what they tell you isn’t what you get,
. The most important
thing you can do is try to plan ahead before things get too hard. Talk over all the options with your family,
whether it’s food, privacy or fees, make sure everyone knows what is important to you. Before you move in the home will give you
a “residential agreement”. Get a lawyer or financial advisor to look
over it and make sure you understand it fully before you sign. If you can’t afford it, there is financial
hardship assistance. So ask if you’re eligible. Preparing to move involves organising lots
of things like finances, health care, legal documents and utilities. But you can appoint a nominee to help you at You also have a whole bunch of rights under
the Aged Care Act. They’re outlined in a Charter of Care which
you can find at and which should be displayed
prominently somewhere in every nursing home. And they include:
Full and effective use of your personal, civil, legal and consumer rights. As well as lots of other things like
personal privacy, being treated with dignity and respect and maintaining personal independence and control over your life and finances. And if any of these things are not happening, you
can lmake a confidential complaint to the Aged Care Commissioner at or call them on 1800 550 552. Can we just leave? Yes. Yes we can. If hearing all this makes moving into
a nursing home sound in-no-way great … well, you may not have to. Grandma, are you home? Hellloo. My, Grandma, what a big support system you have! All the better to stay independent in my own
home with! There are two Commonwealth programs. “Home Support” subsidises entry-level
services like personal care. If your needs are more complex, there are
four levels of Home Care Package. To find out more, go to This website isn’t easy to use for
a wolf. I mean, grandma. You’re right, Grandma. Websites that seniors find hard to access are a
serious barrier. Which is why the recommended way of getting in touch with My Aged Care is to call them on 1800 200 422. And you might want to get help from an
advocate like me. Or you can contact the Older Persons Advocacy Network to find free advocacy services near you. Oh shit, Grandma, you’re a wolf? No! Oh you scared me for a minute. I’m not a wolf! I’m Vanessa Downing! Who? Vanessa Downing? It’s the original Pippa from Home and
Away? Ohhhh! Do you know Alf? That’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen. And I was at Kokoda.

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