Finding the most suitable Aged Care Facility is not easy, and you may be under pressure to make a quick decision due to  a recent hospitalisation or the deterioration of a health condition.

The more information you have, the greater your chances of finding the right fit for you or a loved one.

It is important to know and understand the types of homes available in your area as this may affect the cost and the services you receive.

Here are some pointers on narrowing down your options:

  • Start with referrals. Does your family doctor or specialist have any recommendations? Or do you know any friends who have used different homes? Knowing someone with first-hand experience of a home can help you reduce your choices. However, remember your needs may differ and one size does not fit all.
  • Educate yourself. Start looking online for aged care facilities in your area. Advocacy groups can also provide hints on searching for the right facility. There are also a number of private services companies who can be engaged for a fee to lessen the search for you. See the Resources section below for more information.
  • Consider your medical needs. Different homes may have more expertise in different areas. Are they experienced in handling your condition, such as for Alzheimer’s, Dementia or a stroke? Or are you looking for short-term rehabilitation?
  • Factor in distance. In general, the more convenient the home, the easier it is for family and friends to visit.

Since 2005, Palliative Care Australia has been working to implement the Guidelines for a palliative approach in residential aged care. The Guidelines were first launched by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing in 2004 and approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council in December 2005.

You may wish to ask further questions of your aged care provider regarding their adherence to these Guidelines, if this is appropriate to your circumstances.

Please also see Caresearch  for more information.

Once you’ve narrowed down your preferred list of homes, it’s time to plan a visit.  Visiting various homes is the key to understanding if a home is right for you.

As with other senior housing options, it’s the people that make the place, both the residents and staff.

In a residential care home, you’ll also need to make sure that the medical care is delivered appropriately and promptly.

Please see our downloadable checklists onAged Care Facility Questionsand ‘Your Moving Checklist’ for further information.

Please use our Business Directory Search facility if you require assistance in finding ‘Aged Care Homes’ in your local area.