An Aging New Zealand – Are You Ready?
There is no doubt that admitting a loved one into care for the first time can be an emotionally charged experience for both the family and their loved one. However, to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible—regardless whether transferring from a hospital setting or their own home—there are a number of tasks that can be actioned prior to admission.
It is a good idea to set aside time prior to admission day to sign the Admission Agreement, as well as to discuss any further questions you may have in relation to the Terms and Conditions. Providing the facility with any Enduring Power of Attorney or Advanced Directive papers will streamline the process around repeated requests for further information. And if you are admitting a loved one for short term care or Carer Support, ensure you bring the appropriate funding information or Carer Support form.
The Ministry of Health sets strict criteria for clinical admissions, so be prepared for a multitude of questions; this is normal practice and can take some time. We always appreciate it when the next of kin is present to share in ‘telling the story’ and assist in sharing information.
You should set aside time to be orientated to the facility and meet the care team. Ensure that you are introduced to the Clinical Manager—your best source for any clinical information you may need. Understanding how meals, laundry and activities work is important for a new resident, as well as the simple things such as how the bell system works. Ensure these are explained to your satisfaction.
All clothing should be well named, and provision of initial toiletries or home comforts, such as a special blanket, slippers or books, can make the transition easier. We encourage you to bring in lots of photographs, artwork, and small items of furniture to give your space a ‘homely’ feel.
Many facilities do not provide a television, so it is expected that you would provide this. Setting up services such as Sky and a telephone line should be discussed prior to admission as these may take a few days to be connected. Most facilities have Wi-Fi access for a nominal monthly fee; so that a seamless set-up can be arranged, we encourage you to advise the facility in advance if you require these services. Newspaper delivery is the responsibility of the individual to arrange. We also recommend you consider setting up a Comfort Account—if left to be on-charged, activities such as hairdressing appointments, taxis, outings or podiatry can mount up!
Getting involved at pre-admission stage can contribute to early settling, effective communication, and ensuring both you and the care team share the same goals for your loved one. In the next edition, our final piece will explore some of the expectations, myths and challenges of care expressed by both the families and facilities.