5 Tips for Dealing with Waiting Lists for Aged Care Facilities
The process of selecting an aged care facility for your loved one starts with an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) or Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). This assessment is required before an aged care facility will accept you, or even put you on their waitlist.
The earlier the assessment is done, the better off you will be for a number of reasons, not the least of which is being closer to the top of a wait list when your loved one is ready to make the move.
As demand is much higher than the supply for aged care in Australia, nearly all potential residents and their families face a waiting list before securing a place in a residential aged care home.
The length of wait may vary, but a wait of several months is common. Here are some 5 tips for dealing with these dreaded wait lists.
Tip 1: Some facilities have long waiting lists. Some have no waiting list. While you may want quick placement for your family member, before considering the facilities without waiting lists, pause to ask yourself why there is little demand for that particular one.
Tip 2: Put yourself on waiting lists for as many facilities as you consider are suitable. There is no use limiting yourself to waiting for a bed in just one or two facilities. Just make sure each facility you wait list meets your elderly person’s needs.
Tip 3: Consider short-term respite care when considering a facility. It could be a good way of checking out whether you and your loved are comfortable with a facility’s environment and staff. There are sometimes intangibles that aren’t apparent in a short visit, but can be discovered in a stay of just a few days.
Tip 4: Even though you are on their waiting lists, make regular contact with your wait listed facilities. Places are offered based on clinical needs, not ‘first in best dressed’. Keep them updated about your loved one’s conditions, and even get to know the office staff who answer phones and keep the files updated.
Tip 5: Be persistent with your contact and stay organized with your communications. Keep copies of paperwork you fill out – it may save filling out the same type of forms multiple times.
While we are lucky to have excellent aged care in Australia, dealing with waiting lists can be frustrating for all involved.
By choosing early, after careful consideration and research, you will avoid being disappointed or making rash choices under difficult circumstances.
Making regular contact with your aged care facility (or facilities) of choice and staying organized with your correspondence, will allow you to navigate the process with greater ease and peace of mind.