With all the aged care options available, it’s not surprising that it can be confusing to assess which is the best level of aged care.
The first step is to decide whether residential care is needed or if the person can be cared for in his or her own home. There are different levels of care for both situations.
Residential care providers must give all residents the following services:
- basic accommodation, such as beds, mattresses, linen, bedside lockers and chairs;
- general laundry and cleaning services;
- maintenance of buildings and grounds;
- staff continuously on call to provide emergency assistance;
- assistance with personal care, such as bathing, toileting, eating and dressings;
- assistance with mobility and communication;
- meals, including special diets;
- toiletries, such as towels, washers, soap, and toilet paper;
- support for people with dementia;
- and social activities.
High level care residents should received additional care through:
- water and air mattresses;
- continence aids;
- some basic medications and dressings;
- therapy services, such as speech therapy, podiatry, occupational, recreational and physiotherapy;
- oxygen and oxygen equipment;
- and registered nurses to assess, plan and manage care.
Some residential aged care homes provide both low and high care so residents can stay at the same facility if their care needs change.
Many people have a family member or friend who cares for them so they can continue to live at home. Professional carers can assist the family member or friend at your home or through Day Therapy Centres, which offer physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy, podiatry and other therapy services to older people in a community setting.
There are 148 Commonwealth funded Day Therapy Centres (DTCs) operating nationally, with the goal of assisting people to either maintain or recover independence, which allows them to stay at home or in low level residential care.
Frail and aged people can received respite care (short-term care) in an aged care home on a planned or emergency basis, and will ultimately return home. The purpose of this type of care is to provide a more appropriate setting for the person after they recover from an operation, or if their carer needs a break for a while.