Selecting a rest home or hospital is a very individual choice best decided by you and your family / whanau.
Many care providers now have their own websites, so you can view before visiting.
Eldernet(external link) lists all rests homes nationally. It has vacancy information for most regions and a search function that allows you to look for particular features.
Rest home audit information is listed on the Ministry of Health website(external link).
Day care or short stays can provide a gradual transition to long-term care. This way you are not moving to a totally new environment and there is time to get to know staff and residents.
Premium room fees are common in residential care - there is no public funding for these fees. Premium room fees typically range from $10 to $75 per day. Your choice of facility will be limited if you are unable to fund premium room fees privately.
Often the need for residential care is urgent. If there is no vacancy at your first choice, you might have to consider another facility. This sometimes happens when you are in a public hospital and there is pressure for discharge. If you plan to transfer, it is best to make this clear from the beginning. Try to negotiate a shorter period of notice in the Admission Agreement to avoid paying both facilities during the transfer process.
If you move into a facility and then decide it is not the right place, you can move again. Re-contact Needs Assessment to begin the transfer process. See Transferring to a Different Facility.
Making an appointment to view a facility ensures the manager is free to talk with you, or you may prefer to arrive unannounced. It is best to avoid first thing in the mornings and mealtimes, as these are the busiest times for staff.
See useful questions to ask [PDF, 258 KB] when viewing a facility.
There are four types of care: rest home, dementia rest home, private hospital and specialist private hospital. All facilities must be certified by Ministry of Health and have a contract with the local District Health Board
Rest homes provide 24 hour care to older people who are no longer able to live safely at home. Residents may be able to do some daily tasks by themselves but are likely to need support showering, dressing and moving around.
The majority of rest home residents are women aged 85 years or older and a significant number have memory loss. Rest homes employ a registered nurse some hours each week, there is at least one care staff on-duty at all times More staff members are on duty according to the number of residents.
A person with dementia does not necessarily require care in a dementia rest home. The assessor consults with others, e.g. a psycho-geriatrician, and recommends the most appropriate type of care facility. Residents of dementia rest homes are often confused and require specialist care in a secure environment.
Dementia rest homes provide staff trained in dementia care and have enclosed garden areas with access to the street restricted. Dementia rest homes employ a registered nurse some hours per week and have one staff member on duty at all times, with another readily available on-site.
These hospitals care for older people who need nursing due to illness and disability. Although they are called hospitals, long-stay hospitals are very different from public hospitals. They do not have doctors on duty 24 hours, or specialised rehabilitation. Hospital residents tend to be immobile and many of them are confused.
Private hospitals have two staff on duty at all times, one registered nurse and one caregiver. Staffing is according to residents’ needs.
Specialist hospitals are sometimes called ‘psychogeriatric hospitals’. The residents have high dependency needs coupled with challenging or noisy behaviours. The behaviour may be due to dementia, or the combination of an age-related disability and a mental health condition. Staff members are trained to manage this type of behaviour.
Specialist hospitals have a minimum of two staff on duty at all times, one registered nurse and one caregiver. For larger facilities with several units on one site, registered nursing cover can be shared between units for the hours 10pm to 7am.
There are no specialist convalescent facilities. Some people choose to stay in a rest home or private hospital for a short time. There is no public funding for convalescent care.