Dying in a residential aged care facility

A residential aged care facility (formerly called a nursing home) is a place where people stay who need continual care and help with daily living. These facilities cater for people with a range of chronic conditions, and nurses and aides are available 24 hours a day to provide care. Some aged care facilities provide respite and hospice care also.

Some people fear that dying in residential aged care will be unpleasant and perhaps frightening. Yet dying in an aged care facility can be comforting, particularly if it has been your home for a period of time and you are familiar with the staff, who will try to create the right environment to make you comfortable.

Residential aged care facility: what are the benefits?

  • A less clinical environment than some hospitals.
  • Experienced staff to manage symptoms and needs.
  • May be located close to carers, family or friends.
  • Carers can leave at the end of the day and go home to get some rest.
  • Some families prefer not to live in a house where someone has died.

Ensuring your wishes are respected

If you want to die in a residential aged care facility, ensure that you have an advance care directive in place. Talk to your care providers about avoiding an unnecessary transfer to hospital at the end of life.

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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