You, or someone you care about, may be considering moving into residential aged care (RAC). If so, you may have questions about the process. You may also have questions about what happens at the end-of-life.
Before entering RAC, a new resident may be offered pre-entry leave. This is a period of seven days from accepting the offer of a room until they go into the RACF. Pre-entry leave gives time to transfer belongings and to prepare the room. Making a room homelike is important. It can help a new resident’s sense of wellbeing. The facility can receive funding for up to 7 days for this to occur. The resident can also be asked to pay applicable fees.
Over time peoples care needs change. If a person lives in aged care for some time their room may become quite cramped with possessions. It may be difficult or unsafe for staff to provide care in a room that is cramped. Staff may discuss with you ways of improving access in the room without losing its homelike qualities. This could include swapping a personal bed for a hospital style bed. It could mean rearranging furniture. This will allow staff to safely attend to the comfort of the resident.
During the admission process, staff will discuss financial matters. This will be with the resident or with a nominated person. You may have questions about what will happen to bonds or prepaid care fees, after the death. You may feel uncomfortable asking about this. If you are the next of kin, or person financially responsible, the office staff will understand your need to know. They will be happy to explain their policies. All RACFs have procedures for refunding payments, in line with government regulations.
Many people may not realise that all government funding for a resident stops on the day that they die. This means that most RACFs cannot allow relatives very long to remove belongings after death. This can be difficult for families who are busy with funeral arrangements. They will also want to pack up their loved one's belongings.
Making arrangements with a senior nurse / manager beforehand is the best way of ensuring your wishes are known.