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The Best Residential Aged Care Services in Canberra

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Is living at home no longer an option for you or a loved one due to the challenges of old age? We all know that finding a comfortable and high-quality residential care home can be a challenging and stressful time for families.

The later years of life should be enjoyed to the fullest, and a top-quality residential aged care facility (often referred to as a nursing home) can provide the support needed to help make that happen.

Offering stylish residences, state-of-the-art facilities, and an experienced team of allied health professionals, the best residential care in Canberra gives you or a family member access to the support they need, when they need it.

Choosing a nursing home can often be a rushed decision that happens as a result of an unfortunate event, and it can be difficult to ask people for advice. That’s why we’ve asked Canberra locals to share their experiences with nursing homes in the region.

After reviewing the feedback, we’ve put together this list of the top residential care facilities in Canberra. Let’s get started.

What makes a great residential aged care home?

When choosing a residential aged care home, it can help to keep an eye out for the following traits:

  • Comfortable, homely residences. An aged care home is exactly that – a home. The facility you decide on should be warm, welcoming, and clean. Make sure the room comes with everything you need. You should be able to make it your own through decorations, and there should be enough space for your belongings. Look for well-maintained gardens and inviting shared spaces.
  • Access to professionals you need. If you or your family member requires medical support, ensure your care home has the professionals you need. Clinical care can vary, so be on the lookout for high quality clinical care and a range of allied health staff.
  • Well-trained and responsive staff.  Ask what sort of training carers receive. If they’re not receiving ongoing professional development, look elsewhere.  In an aged care environment, residents are equipped with buzzers that call the attention of carers and nurses. Ask what the typical response time is, and make sure you or your loved one won’t be left waiting – especially at night.
  • Fully customisable support. No two residents are the same. The best residential care homes offer tailored support that meets the individual needs of each person.
  • Planned activities and entertainment.  You should expect your residential care facility to provide activities to help mobility and cognitive function. Exercise, games, and regular and varied activities are important. Make sure activities are run by someone who’s been trained specifically for the role. And check to see what sort of entertainment is provided.
  • Good food. We all know that good food is vital for a good life. Ask your care home how they approach food and ask to see a menu. Bonus points if they have a dietician.
  • Accreditation record. Each residential care facility undergoes a strict accreditation process. Enquire as to how the facility has faired in their most recent assessment. Were they provided with any recommendations of where they could improve?

The top residential aged care providers in Canberra according to you

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 19 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Goodwin

Goodwin

With more than 65 years’ experience providing aged care services, Goodwin offers the highest standard of aged care for individuals in their later years.

Goodwin’s residential care facilities are industry-leading in quality of care, comfort, and attention to detail, which has seen Goodwin receive multiple awards for architectural and clinical excellence.

Goodwin has also received national praise as the first aged care provider to employ a full-time on-site pharmacist. This initiative is part of Goodwin’s commitment to innovation and continual improvement, resulting in higher quality of care and peace-of-mind for residents and families.

Through open and honest communication, Goodwin ensures services are specifically tailored to each individual. Understanding resident’s preferences and interests influences activities and entertainment, dining menus, and of course, clinical care plans.

Meals are prepared fresh, on-site by professional chefs using quality ingredients, with menus reviewed by residents and Goodwin’s dietician to ensure they are balanced as well as delicious.

Most importantly, Goodwin’s staff are warm, caring, and qualified with a strong commitment to ongoing training. Residents have access to high-quality nursing support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Residents also have access to a skilled team of doctors, physiotherapists, dietitians, and other allied health professionals.

The friendly, experienced team at Goodwin attend to their residents’ needs so they can enjoy their lives to the fullest.

Mountain View Aged Care Centre

Mountain View Aged Care Centre in Narrabundah is a warm and inviting aged care centre that offers all levels of care including short term respite care. Operated by The Salvation Army, it offers single bedrooms with private ensuites.

Mountain View Aged Care Centre has adopted a person-centred model of care, which means its friendly and qualified staff spend time getting to know residents one-on-one.

Uniting Mirinjani Weston

Uniting Mirinjani in Weston’s residential aged care service provides nurturing and supportive care that is  tailored to your needs. Its rooms offer all the comforts of home you’d expect, with options to suit your needs and budget.

Google Reviewer Kelly Ann said: “Very nice place and people get treated really well.”

Fred Ward Gardens

If you or a loved one needs medical/rehabilitative or restorative care, Fred Ward Gardens (formerly Brindabella Gardens) in Curtin could be for you. It is a living community for 115 seniors who seek residential care. Both high and low care requirements are catered to.

Google reviewer Bonny praised Fred Ward Gardens’ staff and interior: “Friendly, caring staff & lovely rooms,” she said.

Southern Cross Care Ozanam

Conveniently located in a quiet Garran cul-de-sac, Southern Cross Care Ozanam is a premium aged care facility. It offers private suites with hillside, city or garden views, 24/7 care and a comprehensive range of health and support services.

At Ozanam, you’ll have the care and peace of mind you deserve.

Who did you choose?

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you or a family member had experience with a residential aged care facility in the Canberra region? Share your experience in the comments area below.


What's Your Opinion?


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30 Responses to The Best Residential Aged Care Services in Canberra
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mazmar 6:52 pm 10 Dec 15

I wouldn’t recommend IRT Belconnen. I have relative there, staff friendly but not all trained well, meals awful, cook chilled food from Woolongong and one relative had to wait 3 days after the son complained to get a doctor out for diagnosis and script. They would not call a CALMs doctor in and finally got a doctor from Sydney would you believe. So they must have a contract with them.
Also wouldn’t recommend Villagio Sant Antonio Northside as they are lax with infection control measures

AllAboutCareCaraHade 1:08 pm 07 Oct 14

care1
11:53 pm, 03 Sep 14

My advice is that their are a few providers in Canberra who offer all choices, I would advise you to Google providers as some are not listed on aged funded sites mainly because they offer a range of services across the board. A good service provider will offer many choices before trying to offers there’s alone.

kakosi 4:08 pm 31 Dec 13

Have narrowed the search down to a few homes which I haven’t heard anything bad about: Calvary, Morshead and Goodwin in Ainslie (mostly due to it’s closeness to family homes). I’m surprised at the lack of choice once you need high care for a relative. Most homes won’t accept a high care placement.

kakosi 12:18 am 30 Dec 13

I’m hearing stories of understaffing quite a lot. Medical care is a primary concern. I’d like to be able to not have to visit twice a day to make sure food is eaten, personal care and washing happens, medicines are administered and any emergencies are dealt with on the same day. It’s not looking very positive so far.

Goodwin looks very nice in Ainslie – mostly because it has a great entrance foyer area and larger new rooms. They don’t have a nurse on site over night which is worrying cause that means non-medical carer staff are the only ones there after dinner till the morning.

kakosi 12:21 am 29 Dec 13

absolutehomecare said :

Absolute Home Care is a community nursing agency providing support for the aged person in their own homes. We visit many people in Independent Aged Care Units and the one that we have all been impressed with is Goodwin at both Monash and Ainslie. Dont hesitate to call us if you need any
direction in this area.

Thanks – my relative is not able to stand or feed themselves and so in-home care is no longer an option as the house isn’t built to allow access to toilet or bath and the other partner in the home is frail and cannot cope with overnight care (which is not available via home nursing options under the EACH package). An ACAT has occurred and it’s a high care rating.

We wouldn’t be looking at nursing homes if we had any other option. And the search has been very depressing so far. Any information about how medical oversight happens at Goodwin overnight if the nurse is not onsite?

ausbradr 1:06 pm 28 Dec 13

kakosi said :

Goodwin Ainslie

Can’t say I’ve lived in one but have had to visit there before. Looks pretty neat. Staff are friendly, and nothing screams class like a freakin’ baby grand piano in the lobby!

Flossie 10:09 am 28 Dec 13

When my grandmother ended in a high care unit in a Canberra facility, we found the staff were wonderful and supportive and worked so very hard to make sure the residents had a full and rich day to day life. Residents had podiatrist appointments and hairdressing appointments and activities etc and the ward didn’t have that nasty smell of unwashed and/or unchanged adults. No matter how impaired, if a resident wanted to attend the weekly church service, they were escorted to the chapel and volunteers were always welcome to help ensure they got there safely. (Trust me, when there are eight dementia patients going up one level in a lift, you would be amazed at how quickly they will try to scatter when the doors open to let them out.)
Where it all fell down for us was around health care. As swallowing becomes harder, and dementia sufferers become more likely to reflexively bite down on things in their mouths including fingers, we had a number of instances where staff, who are not nurses or health care professionals, would crush tablets in order to administer them as a paste or in a drink. Many of these medications were not suited for crushing, for example where there was a protective coating that was destroyed, and in some cases crushing was dangerous because it turned a slow release medication into an instant release medication. So the insufficiently trained staff were genuinely trying to do the right thing and administer the required meds, but it was a nightmare. We were eventually able to get many of the medications in liquid or other form. So my tip would be that if your relative needs health care stay very involved in making sure everything is as it should be.
Most distressingly for my grandmother’s care was when we were told there would be a registered nurse on duty overnight, but when my grandmother was passing away (related to a necrotising pressure sore) there was a delay in getting her palliative care medications administered as there was nobody authorised to administer them in the facility over night. When a palliative care nurse did arrive, a decision was made to administer a larger evening dose of medication because of the trouble with overnight administration of top up doses. Should never have happened.

I guess my point is that even in facilities who generally do a great job and are staffed by dedicated people, systemic problems mean that things can go distressingly awry. Be ready to fight for things to be done properly, but in the context of underpaid, undertrained, under resourced carers, remember that it’s rarely malicious when things go off the rails.

kakosi 12:08 am 28 Dec 13

Thanks so much with the recommendations so far. Has anyone had any good experiences with Goodwin Ainslie or Morshead in Lyneham? I know that Goodwin don’t have a registered nurse on duty overnight while some other homes do.

untilnow 9:59 pm 23 Dec 13

Hi I have recently volunteered at IRT Kangara Waters and would recommend it IF your relative would be going into the secure dementia unit as I think the dementia unit does a wonderful job. Otherwise I would not send my own relative there, particularly if he/she is especially vulnerable. I would recommend somewhere smaller with fewer residents. However, many residents there enjoy it and are settled in, so it comes down in the end to individual temperament and preferences.
Another thing I would say is please please understand the importance of you and your family’s role in providing support to your relative – many families think that since their relative is in residential care they are being taken care of completely however residential care facilities only provide the basics and the true support is provided by family.
With accreditation you are able to see online ratings showing the different areas of accreditation and their score on each on. DO NOT send anyone to Ginninderra Gardens as it has failed miserably.
Finally, there are no mandatory ratios for care staff in residential aged care. The 1:8 is an ideal but not necessarily upheld. Take it with a grain of salt.

Sandman 7:42 pm 23 Dec 13

Both my Grandparents are at Brindabella Gardens in Curtin. There was a fair bit of looking involved and in the end the parents decided between Brindabella gardens and one other. We had time so it was then a matter of waiting for a vacancy. They both started off in the regular section and have since been moved to higher care as they get less mobile. It all seems pretty good from what I’ve seen. Staff are very helpful and available and the meals and facilities seem pretty.
Mum and Auntie occasionally have a little whine about small things but I think that’s more them being overprotective and focus minded rather than any real running issues. Concerns and issues are always addressed promptly and Grandma and Grandpa are usually pretty happy when they’re health is good.

suemaree 6:29 pm 23 Dec 13

Mirinjani Weston, my father was there for 3months,the care was wonderful, always staff and carers around, the staff were amazing in his final days, couldn’t ask for better care.

kakosi 5:03 pm 23 Dec 13

Bad Seed said :

The issue is recommendations matching up with vacancies. You might get a recommendation for a place that is positive but if they don’t have a vacancy and you need a place NOW then that’s not much good to you. Often, you meed to take the first place that is available if your need is urgent and then consider moving to a place you are happier with later and decide if the trauma of a second move is worth it. I have had a bit to do with Goodwin Monash and have heard positives about it and also hear good things about Calvary Bruce but not from personal experience, only reports.

Thank you for providing some names. I too have only heard good things about Calvary – they tell me their waiting list is very long.

We did accept a “first vacancy” on the idea that if it didn’t work out we’d look for another home but that experience was incredibly confronting and now we’re desperately trying to find somewhere else.

As there aren’t many high care facilities in Canberra and only one in Queanbeyan there isn’t much of a choice or many spots available – and some of these nine never seem to have vacancies listed. However, any positive reviews or experiences will certainly help us to work out which places on the list people would recommend.

The list includes (in order of listing on the aged care guide website): Jindalee; Adria Villiage; BCS Morling Lodge; Bupa Aranda; Calvary Bruce; Brindabella Gardens; Goodwin Ainslie; IRT Kangara Waters Belconnen; Kankinya Lyneham (but this is only dementia specific); RSL Morshead Lyneham; Uniting Care Mirinjani Weston; Villaggio Sant Antonio.

Bad Seed 3:45 pm 23 Dec 13

The issue is recommendations matching up with vacancies. You might get a recommendation for a place that is positive but if they don’t have a vacancy and you need a place NOW then that’s not much good to you. Often, you meed to take the first place that is available if your need is urgent and then consider moving to a place you are happier with later and decide if the trauma of a second move is worth it. I have had a bit to do with Goodwin Monash and have heard positives about it and also hear good things about Calvary Bruce but not from personal experience, only reports.

housebound 6:55 am 22 Dec 13

kakosi said :

I’ve visited but the homes ask you come at a time they can show you around (they are private institutions). I have visited just before lunch times so I could see what the meals looked like. I ask about staffing levels but they all say they comply with the ratio: 1 carer to 8 people (although this will change next year I’m told).

No one in the industry will say a word about who’s doing it well or who isn’t and the certification process doesn’t say much other than they’ve been certified to practice.

It’s not easy. We must have had different needs because we had only two options in Canberra (one in Lyneham and one in Belconnen), and one didn’t pass the “smell test”. So that left one, and it was pretty good. It met all the requirements you have listed. If you have nothing else to differentiate, pick one close to where you live.

If you are paying full fees, you will be charged tens of thousands of dollars a year, plus doctor and medical fees. I think that gives you some grounds for sticking to your guns and having another visit around meal time.

kakosi 1:49 pm 21 Dec 13

Thank you for your advice, this is truly a crappy time for us. Yes I have a short list, after visiting every high care home in Canberra, and apart from three homes which I had doubts about due to what I saw, it includes every other high care home in the ACT and the one in Queanbeyan.

I’ve visited but the homes ask you come at a time they can show you around (they are private institutions). I have visited just before lunch times so I could see what the meals looked like. I ask about staffing levels but they all say they comply with the ratio: 1 carer to 8 people (although this will change next year I’m told).

The point about it is that unless you’ve actually had someone inside the homes you really don’t know what the real situation will be like.

I’m not looking for negatives just anyone who’s had a positive and can recommend a place that’s basically decent (people are washed more than once or twice a week, they are fed if they can’t do it themselves, they are taken to the toilet or have their nappy changed more than three times a day, their medications are given on time and they are checked daily by the nurse on duty and a doctor is called when necessary).

No one in the industry will say a word about who’s doing it well or who isn’t and the certification process doesn’t say much other than they’ve been certified to practice.

housebound 11:59 am 21 Dec 13

It’s not a fun time. I am sorry you have to do this at Christmas. We went through it a few years ago, and it wasn’t fun in so many different ways.

One thing though, everywhere we looked, the staff seemed to genuinely care and do the best they can for their patients. But the sector in general has issues of resourcing, and there is only so much a human can do.

I can’t really recommend one place over another, but I assume you have a short list by now. Have you tried paying a second visit to those on your short list? if so, you might want to consider the following.

If you can, try to visit on later on a Friday afternoon/evening. In some of the places, the residents are all strangely docile and calm, sleepy even, and there are fewer staff on hand. Some aggressive/violent patients need medication to be happy (or at least manageable – remember, they are there for a reason), but not all. Try to visit around a meal time and see whether people who need assistance with eating are getting it. we never had problems in that area, but it is good to be sure about that level of attention.

Depending on your relative’s needs, ask about the homes’ programs, and ask if you can visit (inspect) around the time they claim to run them (music is a good one). Look at participation rates and engagement.

We were very happy with where our relative ended up, and due to their high needs, there was little choice anyway. So we are speaking from a positive experience. But if you are worried about reality meeting the sales pitch, then this is one way you can verify these things for yourself.

Nicsmith888 11:39 pm 06 Mar 13

yellowredme said :

Whilst at Uni I worked many Assistant in Nursing (Agency) shifts at Ginninderra Gardens in Page, it was a shocking place, understaffed, under managed, some very dedicated overworked staff and other staff that karma will one day hunt down for sitting on their bottoms whilst old people needed care and attention. I cared, so I ran and ran most shifts to try to get everyone cared for but to no avail due to lack of support, I went home crying some shifts and after 6 months told my agency I would not go back there. Hope that answers your question about the place. I also did shifts next door at Villagio and it was wonderful.

Goodwin, Villagio and Ginninderra have all been issued with non-compliance notices in the last year so that says alot about the care provided in these places – I feel for what you are saying; they are all understaffed and its a problem from the management and higher not the staff who have to make do with minimal help.

Nicsmith888 11:20 pm 06 Mar 13

If your parents dont need to be in low level care – you should first consider some alternate options for them as it is quite sad to see how these people go down hill fast in a home. Yes, there are great activities and like but most homes are grossely understaffed and in desperate need of government reform which implements staff to resident ratios. Providers dont make nearly enough money to keep these places solvent and the first thing to suffer is resident care…..do you want your parents waiting for over an hour to go to the toilet or risk having meals late or under/over cooked?
From my experience, I would speak with your parents and see if they really are in fact requiring assisted care and if so consider a weeks respite at a few places that they like – the respiste box should be ticked on your ACAT assesment – so they can get a feel for it themselves and see how the care is provided, what the staff are like and if there is enough.
Just because a place looks great and new with all the new equipment, like Goodwin Homes, does not mean the care is appropriate for your parents or the people in a nursing home.

absolutehomecare 1:46 pm 11 Jan 13

Absolute Home Care is a community nursing agency providing support for the aged person in their own homes. We visit many people in Independent Aged Care Units and the one that we have all been impressed with is Goodwin at both Monash and Ainslie. Dont hesitate to call us if you need any
direction in this area.

rosscoact 4:32 pm 10 Jan 13

jss said :

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. I will go and have a look at Goodwin and the Anglicare in Downer.

Cheers

Have you spoken to the ACAT Liaison Nurse? Also, the cost structures can be very diverse so some decumulation financial planning can be useful.

Residential Aged Care Liaison Nurse (RACLN)
The Residential Aged Care Liaison Nurse (RACLN) supports clients and their families through the process of application to Residential Care Facilities by providing advice and information on Aged Care Facilities across the ACT Region.
Contact:

Phone: 02 6207 9977
Other phone: 02 6205 2103
Fax: 02 6205 1360
Opening Times:*

Weekday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM – open now as at 4:28 PM EST
Email: RACLN@act.gov.au

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