At some point many of us will have to choose a rest home for ourselves or for a loved one. This is an important matter and it is essential that you feel comfortable with your decision.
In order to choose a rest home, you might begin by asking your doctor or your local hospital for recommendations of homes with good reputations.
You should make a thorough inspection of all the homes you visit and ask questions of the staff. As well as generally feeling comfortable with the home and its facilities, you should make sure you address a number of important specific questions.
Some of the main questions you should ask are:
The Consumers' Institute provides a comprehensive checklist for choosing a rest home on its website at www.consumer.org.nz/other/restcheck.aspl.
Once you have chosen a home, you should be aware of your rights as a resident and ensure that they are being met at all times.
These include the right:
If you feel that one of your rights as a rest home resident has been breached, you should first discuss the matter with the manager of the home.
If that does not resolve the matter, you may have grounds to make a complaint to the Health and Disability Commissioner if there has been a breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights. You can obtain a copy of the Code by phoning the Commissioner (0800 112 233) or you can read it on-line at the Commissioner's website (www.hdc.org.nz). A complaint to the Commissioner does not have to be in writing.
If the Health and Disability Commissioner does not have jurisdiction to deal with your complaint, you may have other courses of action. For example, if the confidentiality of your personal records has been breached, you may make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner (phone 0800 803 909).