What to look for when visiting Aged Care Homes

As Aged Care Consultants we visit many facilities each year. There is a great deal of variation in the style of homes and also the types of care they provide.

Once you have created a shortlist and set up times to meet, you’ll likely have questions. Below are some questions you could ask as well as some observations you may like to make to help with deciding on the most suitable facility for your loved one.

First impressions

  • How was I treated when I called to enquire about the home? Did the person take the time to understand the situation and what the older person is looking for?
  • Did I feel welcome when I arrived?
  • Was it easy to park the car?
  • Is the facility clean? Does it smell ok? Is it well maintained?

Questions you may like to ask

  • How long has the manager been there?
  • Registered Nurses – how many on each shift?
  • What is the staffing overnight – Registered Nurses/Enrolled Nurses/Personal Carers. How many staff are scheduled overnight?
  • What arrangements do they have to access specialist services eg dieticians/physios/wound care nurses/continence nurses?
  • Support from local GP practices. How many GPs visit?
  • What care cannot be provided?
  • Extra services fee – what is provided for that fee?
  • Is all food cooked on the premises? How often is menu rotated? Can we see the current menu?
  • How many days per week does the Lifestyle program run? Can you show us the activity timetable?
  • Is the facility secure (keypad entry)? When are visiting hours?

Other observations

  • How does the person conducting the tour interact with residents & staff while showing you the facility?
  • Do they know names of the residents & staff?
  • Are there activities occurring with residents as you walk around?
  • How do the staff interact with each other? Do the staff portray a caring culture?

These are some of the things to think about when doing the tours. At the end of each tour it is useful to give the facility a score out of 10 and jot down some notes that will help remind you of the specific places you visited. It can become confusing when you visit multiple facilities and it is easy to mix details up.