Visiting your shortlisted aged care homes
Before you make any decisions, you should visit the homes in person. If you are looking for a home on behalf of someone else, take them too if they are able to come.
As much as possible, it is important that the aged care home (nursing home) is chosen by, or in close consultation with, the person who will be living there.
Remember, visiting an aged care home for the first time can be an emotional and confusing experience. There are so many things to consider; many of which will be unfamiliar and some of which might be confronting.
It will help to have a checklist of things to look for, topics to cover and questions to ask, to take with you when you visit see 7.3 Ask the right questions when you visit.
Organise a tour of an aged care home
Phone first - To ensure you get the most out of your visit, call the home first and make an appointment. You can always request a personal tour at a time that is convenient to you, including outside of normal business hours. Simply dropping in without setting up a time might not give you the best result.
Make a time – Some aged care homes offer group tours at particular times. Some host regular coffee-mornings or ‘open-evenings’ where people can visit and meet residents and their families and talk to staff.
Know your rights - Most aged care homes will have a general tour mapped out, taking in all the main areas and features of the home. You are entitled to tour most areas, subject to safety and privacy conditions. These include:
- public areas – such as living areas, dining rooms, gyms, libraries, hairdressers, outdoor areas and gardens
- operational areas - such as kitchens, laundries, training and administrative areas
- available resident rooms
- specific areas such as dedicated dementia units, rehabilitation centres, palliative care services etc.
- You also have the right to speak to staff, residents and volunteers in the aged care home.