It's 2005. Your loved ones dementia is deteriorating much further than first suspected and you discover that the public trustee has already taken financial control of your loved ones partner, who is also suffering dementia, without notification. 17 years of shared funds simply disappear, leaving one with close to $100,000 and the other with less than $20,000.
2006. Your loved ones, both by now suffering advanced dementia move into a sparkling new nursing home. It's been such a gem to find, somewhere to keep them together as they wished to be. That's really hard to do you know!
It's been alluded to that the sparkling new home is partially funded and being new to the nursing home game you trust that these people are genuine and not simply after pricey accommodation bonds. You don't really understand all that government funding jargon, but the directors of the nursing home surely must know what they are talking about and you feel confident since they have been so sincere in helping you through such a difficult time.
Skip ahead a few months..
The care of your loved ones is excellent. They look 5 years younger and are happily settling in and meeting new friends. The nursing staff is exceptional. They are open, honest and caring and have no problems with family joining in or having free reign to look over the entire home which is very important. The management are also friendly, they seem to care and you trust them since everything else is going so well. You are concerned about the cost though as they are paying a private rate ($1100 per fortnight) until funded beds are granted. It's a pity they missed out on the last funded bed round, but we are all very confident about the next...
Eventually funds start running out since one was left with very little "ready cash" and there is only an aged pension to pay fees with so you'll have to start having part of the fees taken from the accommodation bond ($240,000 combined) once their home sells to cover costs. You are assured that the next bed round will be much more rewarding. You question this of course but surely directors know more than you about such things and just look how well looked after your loved ones are...
2007 Finally the house sells and you pay the outstanding accommodation bond. You know it will be hit with some interest charges for the time it took but you are happy to finally have them secure in their new home together. Sadly no funded beds yet but surely the next bed round will yield results, what with all the petitions the families have sent to the Government and various ministers not to mention the confidence oozing from the nursing homes directors..
Flares begin firing when you never receive the accommodation bond statements you request. Providers by law must provide you with these regularly but your concerns are always eased by the director with whom you've grown a bond over the last year. After all, they are looking out for your loved ones in a secure and caring enviroment. No word on those rascally funded beds yet...
July 2007 and the home is sanctioned for putting residents at risk. This is a shock and hard to believe as the standard of care is exceptional. There are countless meetings where residents’ families are put at ease but it also brings out the state of financial affairs the home is having issues with. The owner of the building wants to sell. Families are put at ease yet again as another approved aged care provider has shown an interest in purchasing the property and all remaining residents can stay if this deal goes through. This provider already has funded beds in other homes they run so it is highly likely they will be granted ASAP. Finally, a promising outlook!
September 2007 and the home is closing it's doors. The building has been sold to a Government department and all residents must vacate. After months of breeding hope into residents’ families we are given a few short weeks to find placements for our loved ones. All suffer advanced dementia and need secure care but assurance is given by the Government that there are "plenty" of suitable beds to cater for them. If only I could find one, let alone two...
It's been a battle, you've called every home in the region to no avail but they finally find a placing, only it's private again.. no funded beds are available at this time, but there is hope for the NEXT round...
60 days pass and still no word of the transfer of accommodation bonds. To your horror, you cannot contact ANYONE from the previous home in regards to this matter! The Government are no help whatsoever; their only assistance is to tell you to seek legal advice.
2008 and after much research and set-backs you've started legal proceedings with a handful of other families, the previous providers have been put into liquidation and there is hope on the horizon that you may have your accommodation bonds returned via the Governments guarantee scheme. They really don't want to fork out for legal fees though, even though Government were the ones who advised families to get legal assistance in the first place because they had no answer for our questions themselves. Time will tell and people will suffer while they pass the parcel.
And now, the present. Still paying fees with money you simply don't have. Interest on outstanding bond amounts growing by the month even though the owners of the new home have been urged to waive them in consideration of the hardship faced. Disagreements with rude nursing home accounting staff over simple errors does nothing to lift your hopes nor does it breed trust in the security of their finances in the future. Caring motivated staff, the backbone of any home, keep your spirits just above rock bottom as your loved ones deteriorate further.
The previous building your loved ones resided in re-opens as a secure nursing home with a new provider and is awarded 15 high care funded beds and 51 low care funded beds.
The home they are in now gets no funded high care beds.
The managers do not have the guts to tell you this though, so they simply say they "are unaware at this time". You know better as you've already researched the results of the bed rounds. Perhaps you were testing their level of honesty. They failed.
It's 2008. My loved ones have been waiting over 2 years for funded beds. Is their case not critical enough because they apparently have financial security? Financial security that was stolen by a provider APPROVED by our Government?
If I could turn back time I would tell my loved ones to sell up. I would urge them to spend their assets on enjoying the remainder of their years because if they have anything above $35,000 and eventually needed care, all that is going to matter to anyone is the amount of money that can be made from their suffering.
Standard of care is the number one priority when seeking placement for your loved ones but take heed. All the other pieces of the puzzle can make for much distress if handled poorly by uncaring and financially driven providers.
And don't trust them when they talk about funded beds that can ease the suffering.