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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Checklist to compare rest home and hospital-level care facilities

Rārangi hihira kia whakataurite i ngā whare pēperekōu me ngā whare manaaki hōhipera

We suggest you consider the following questions when comparing residential care facilities. This list is by no means complete. We hope it stimulates you to ask other questions.


Staff should show warmth and empathy with residents. There should be a noticeable involvement in conversation, activities (active or passive) rather than residents sitting around the edge of the lounge where it's difficult to connect with others. The rest home or hospital should have a comfortable, inviting and confident feel about it.


Residents' rooms should be clean and comfortable and have enough floor space. Communal areas should be accessible for your dining, relaxation and activity needs.


A current, regularly updated care plan for each resident should be kept by the staff.


There should be a range of activities for those who wish to be involved and alternatives for those who do not. A list of the week's activities, outings or events should be on display.


Meals should be varied, interesting, nutritious and appropriate (for example, some people may require a soft diet). A daily menu should be on display.


The facility should have systems and procedures in place to ensure resident safety. Staff should be confident with all emergency drills.

Dignity, privacy and independence

Residents should be encouraged to keep their individuality and make their own decisions. But staff also need to be sensitive and make sure things that have been important to the person in the past aren't neglected, such as applying make-up, shaving and so on. These things help the person keep their dignity.


In addition to the previous questions, those looking for dementia or specialist hospital care may also wish to consider the following.

Specialist dementia and specialist hospital care

If viewing a secure facility, enquire about what is provided for the special needs of residents. Staff in these facilities should be trained in this specialised area of care.

You can view Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand's standard contract by visiting Te Whatu Ora website.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

From Care Publications – Where from Here, March 2012. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2023.


Page reference: 53015

Review key: HIRRV-48277