Paid residency at aged care centre

We have our mother in an aged care facility in NSW which we researched and paid $370,000 to have her looked after. She has been there since February 2017 and lately has started crying out 'Help Me…Help me…'mostly in the afternoon and somtimes at night. It seems the staffing levels are reduced in this centre over the last few months and we have been approached by the head of the centre saying that she is causing stress amongst other aged care persons and they dont have the time to be able to be with her to settle her down . They have basically told us that we need to find other accommodation for her somewhere else that has hight staffing levels to be able to settle her. My question is what rights do we have to be able to firmly advise that she is to stay in this centre, considering others in the centre have been admitted free of charges and it seems that they are understaffed and cannot attend my mothers issues. She has moderate dimensure and is 92 years old but still mobile. Mornings seem to be OK but issues in the afternoon and nights are a concern. From memory they have about 15 in need of care upstairs and a ward downstairs for strong demnture patients of about 12. Any advise would be appreciated as we are not sure if they can demand we relocate her. Afterall, it is a centre for the aged and demnture and it seems that the request by them is so they can get rid of her to another centre.

Hi Vegas,
Hopefully you will come to a satisfactory resolution with your mother’s aged care home. However if you require advice you could contact OPAN - Older Persons Advocacy Network. It is an organisation that promotes that it provides free aged care advocacy services, information about aged care service provision and the rights and responsibilities of consumers. Their contact number is 1800 700 600.

Hi Vegas,From my experience of working in aged care homes for 15 years the behaviour you are describing is not uncommon in people who have a diagnosis of dementia. Often the behaviours worsen in the afternoon and early evening and is referred to as “sundowning” and is evidently related to decrease in daylight and the effect it has on people with dementia. Managing the behaviours of people with dementia is not easy and takes time and patience and implementation of activities and programs to try to settle these symptoms whilst taking into account that each resident is an individual with their own particular requirements. Staffing levels in aged care homes is a big topic of discussion particularly at the moment whilst we are in the midst of the Royal Commission into Aged Care. Some homes appear to manage it well whilst others may not. The “mix” in that home will also impact on the staffing levels. I would ask for a “team meeting” with the manager and your mother’s doctor and relevant care staff to discuss her needs and ask what suggestions they have to help manage and hopefully settle her behaviours. If you don’t feel a satisfactory solution can be found perhaps you are better to find another aged care home that has dementia specific programs better suited to your mother’s needs.