The first 30 days in aged care
The first 30 days in aged care are easily the hardest. Some people ease into it, but for the vast majority, the pain with leaving home can be overwhelming. Often all you can think about is wanting to go home. But while the first month may seem tough, trust us, it gets better.
“I thought aged care was horrible. Just horrible. But when it happened, when I went to visit, I liked the atmosphere. It felt light. And since then I’ve never looked back.”
While we can’t alleviate the fear of leaving home entirely, what we can do is take away some fear of the unknown when it comes to moving into aged care.
The timing might be a little different for everyone, but to give you a bit more peace of mind about the first 30 days in aged care, we’ve laid out a rough guide of what you can generally expect entering an aged care home at St Vincent’s.
Before you enter aged care
Before you enter aged care in the days leading up to your arrival in the home, we’re preparing everything for you in the background. In the 2-3 days before you can bring in personal items to prepare the room before you come in, so it feels right for you on day 1.
This includes hanging any pictures if you need it, or any other maintenance requests to make your room just the way you like it. We also let all of our admissions coordinators and team know what time you’re coming so that everything is prepared for you as it should be.
We also go in, clean and sanitise everything and make sure all of the technology in your room is working as it should too.
Day 1 is all about getting settled in and learning more about you.
From the moment you enter the door we’ll make sure you’re comfortable. Whether that means getting you something to eat or drink is entirely up to how you’re feeling on the day.
Transitioning to a new environment can be overwhelming. Suddenly you feel your routine has been turned upside down. You’re eating with other people. You’re involved in activities with other people. So, it’s important to remember early on that you’re always in control.
We will always go at your pace. For example, if you find meal times overwhelming, you can start out by staying in your room for meals. Or if you’re not quite ready for activities you can even just start getting around by visiting quieter place like the chapel.
We’ll even set you up with staff members or other residents who can help you transition into care.
“My aunt was adamant that she was never going into aged care, now she looks great!”
On day 1, you’ll also be supplied with a resident handbook which will have helpful information about how things work at St Vincent’s. We’ll chat to you about a lot of different areas on day 1, but the handbook means you’ll always have the information you need on hand. Remember though, you can always ask someone if you’re not sure about something!
We’ll help you organise your valuables and personal belongings, introduce you to some of the care staff that you’ll see regularly including nurses, lifestyle workers, support workers and the facility/clinical manager.
From a clinical perspective on day 1, staff will look at your dietary needs and food, your medication, your mobility and general physical wellbeing. We do our best to spread out some of our clinical assessments to make sure you’re not feeling too overwhelmed in the first few weeks.
There’ll (of course) be forms to sign and more things for you to understand. A lot happens in the first month in aged care, but know that staff will always be looking out for you to make sure you’re feeling welcome, valued and safe especially during the first few weeks of your stay.
The next few days of your stay, we’ll introduce you to the leisure and lifestyle team who will take you through the lifestyle calendar and some of the activities that you can enjoy. You’ll also hear from our pastoral team in the first few days as well who will have a chat and a meet and greet with you to see how you’re settling in and if there’s anything they can do for you.
After you’ve tried the food, someone from the catering team will pop around to ask how you’re finding the food and menu and talk with our team about how you’re doing.
From a clinical perspective, during this time we’ll be looking at physiotherapy assessments to see if you need any support with your movement, an oral and dental assessment and other assessments around your level of pain, personal hygiene and your cognition. The last bit about cognition sounds a little scary, but it’s just a bit of a memory test – basically us reading some words and phrases and you reading it back to us based on your memory.
The pastoral team will pop back in to say hi again at some point during this time. It’s a big adjustment going from home into aged care, and so our pastoral team can be just another ear to listen as you work through this time. We’ll also have a more formal chat with your family about how you’re doing (even though there would still be plenty of chats up until this point).
It’s at the beginning of the 10 days that we’ll also look a bit more about some of the leisure and lifestyle activities you’re involved in, or would like to be involved in, and how we can make them work best for you. If you’re using a wheelchair for example, we would look at either picking activities that best suit you sitting down, or tailoring activities so you don’t miss out.
The team will help you figure out where to go. It can be hard going from an apartment or living by yourself straight into a much bigger home! Remember, you can always ask around if you’re not sure.
There will be some more clinical assessment around this time as well to make sure you’re doing well physically and mentally.
Now that you have the majority of pieces organised for your time with us, there’s only a few more assessments to go before you’re done for the month!
We’ll be looking at some of your routines like your sleep and how you’re settling in with other residents. We’ll also put together a pastoral care plan and our pastoral team will do a spiritual assessment to make sure your spiritual needs are being met.
There’s a lot that happens in the first 30 days in aged care and you should feel proud for how you’ve gone about getting acclimated and involved.
Beyond the 30 days, we’ll also be in touch to finalise your care and services plan long term. Usually we leave this until this time to make sure we’ve covered every base and that you’re comfortable living at St Vincent's long term.
And that’s it! You’re through your first month in aged care and well on your way to settling in and calling St Vincent’s home.
An important note
If there’s any advice we can impart about the first 30 days of aged care or if you’re not sure about something ask. If you’re struggling let us know. If you need more support, more time or anything at all to make this transition as easy possible, we can do it.
There is always someone looking out for you.
If you’ve got any questions around the 30 day process, please chat us or call us on 1800 778 767.