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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Choosing a rest home

Te kōwhiri i tētahi whare pēperekōu

Choosing a rest home can be bewildering. Choose your new rest home according to your needs, health and wellbeing.

Completing a needs assessment

A needs assessment is used to decide on the level of care you need. Depending on your needs this could be a rest home, private hospital, dementia unit or specialist hospital care. Your service coordinator will talk through the options available to you. They will explain eligibility criteria for funded assistance and help you with settling into the care facility you choose. If the need for care is urgent, this can be finalised quickly.

Eldernet has current information about all residential facility options.

Making the choice

Making a short list to narrow down the choice is often helpful. The following are common considerations:

Once you've arrived at a short list, you can begin to look at rest homes. Have a look at several rest homes so you can compare them.

It's a good idea to make a list of questions you want to ask and all the things you want to look out for.

It can be helpful to take someone with you so you can compare notes afterwards. Some people prefer to write down their impressions after each visit to make this task easier. This checklist of questions may help you with this.

Some homes may allow you to spend the day there so you can get a feel for what it’s like. You may like to ask the manager about a trial period after which you can both decide how suitable the match is.


Whatever type of facility you're looking for, your choice will be limited by what is available at the time. If your preferred facility doesn't have a vacancy, you can ask to be put on a waiting list.

Admission agreement

As a new resident to the facility, you must be provided with an admission agreement, which you'll be asked to sign. The admission agreement should set out all terms and conditions and itemise costs, including any additional payments.

Take it away and read it carefully. If you do not understand something, ask for clarification. You may want to get legal advice. You may want to consider negotiating a reduced period of notice if you're planning to move to a different rest home in the future.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

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


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Review key: HIRRV-48277