«Our dad is increasingly restricted in health terms and no longer able to look after himself in her own flat. The thought of placing her in a nursing home is difficult one for all of us, because it's such a major step.»
Twilight years in a nursing home: the very thought of it invokes fear among many people. For the person in need of care, admission to a nursing home turns life upside down. They need to get accustomed to a completely new environment and say goodbye to cherished habits and objects.
It's a step that also puts a mental strain on family members. Some torment themselves with feelings of guilt. It's therefore right and sensible to only consider the nursing home option if there is no prospect of care being provided by family members and if outpatient nursing opportunities such as Spitex and day-care centres have been exhausted.
Is admission to a nursing home justified?
Admission to a nursing home is inevitable if the person needing care is suffering from mental and physical problems that are gradually getting worse. The situation becomes untenable when the behaviour of the person in need of care endangers themselves or family members.
Reasons for admission to a nursing home can also include overload, health risks or excessive mental strain or physical effort among family carers. With difficult-to-manage tasks such as nursing and support, everyone reaches their limits at some point. Typical warning signs include exhaustion, a state of anxiety, frequent insomnia, low spirits, feelings of isolation and depression.
Talk about it
Invite all those involved in providing care and support to discuss the situation and the organisational aspects of admission to a nursing home. The person in need of care should ideally be involved in this conversation. Other important factors include an assessment of their state of health and the recommendations of the family doctor.
Choosing a nursing home
Once a decision has been taken, start searching for a nursing home that matches as far as possible the wishes of the person needing care and also meets your expectations. Register your relative with several possible institutions. Don't assume a space will be available in the nursing home of your choice. Many homes have a very long waiting list.
Enquire about local opportunities and circumstances on site. It's best to do this together with the person needing care. Show a willingness to compromise. Virtually no nursing home will completely meet individual requirements. You'll find helpful information, databases of addresses and additional links at www.heiminfo.ch.
Admission to a nursing home requires preparation
Once you've found a suitable nursing home, you'll have an introductory discussion with the management. The person being admitted to the home should take part wherever possible. This will initially be about the nature and scope of care services as well as funding the stay in the home. The management of the home will set out in writing the needs and wishes of the person moving into the home in terms of assistance, care and support as well as the corresponding agreements. Depending on the institution and the state of health of the person in need of care, you should use this meeting to discuss the opportunities for active participation in the communal life of the home.
Find out whether and which furniture your family member can take with them into the home. Cancel their current rental agreement, insurance policies such as household contents and give the relevant contacts, companies, institutions as well as the health insurance organisation the change of address. Remember that when moving into a home in a different municipality the person needing care must de-register with the old municipality and register with the new one.
Who pays the care costs?
Funding long-term care comes from three main sources: health insurance contributions, social-security contributions and – where permitted by the financial status of the person in need of care – individual contributions.
Subject to certain conditions, your parents can apply for helplessness allowances, additional AHV benefits and, if necessary, social assistance.
The safest funding option for suitable healthcare provision in old age is adequate insurance cover. It's worth sorting this out early on.
This example lists the costs for an older person who receives round-the-clock support in a care home.
What can Helsana do for you?
Covering the cost of medical advice
The cost of a consultation and medical examination by the GP prior to any admission to a nursing home is paid for through basic insurance.
If you've concluded the basic insurance BeneFit PLUS Telemedicine, please contact the Centre for Telemedicine on the toll-free number 0800 800 090 before consulting a doctor.
If you've taken out PREMED-24 insurance, please call the free phone number 0800 773 633 before consulting a doctor.
Covering the cost of staying in a nursing home
Depending on the level of care, basic insurance gives you between CHF 9 and CHF 108 per day. Your supplementary long-term care insurance will cover part of the cost of accommodation (room, meals, laundry, etc.) based on an agreed all-in daily allowance.
With VIVANTE long-term care insurance, you'll receive a daily allowance to use as you please.
For information about the best choice of insurance and care opportunities, call Helsana customer service on 0844 80 81 82.
Basic insuranceCosts according to the applicable tariff
You receive the costs according to the applicable tariff for inpatient care services in a nursing home. The tariff is based on the level of care needed, as determined on your admission.
We cannot assume boarding costs (room and board at the nursing home) from basic insurance.
CURAAgreed daily allowances
Where there is a proven need for care, you will receive up to the insured daily allowance to meet those costs for accommodation and meals in a nursing home not covered by basic health insurance as soon as the agreed waiting period expires.
- You receive healthcare benefits from basic health insurance amounting to an average of more than 60 minutes per day.
- You receive inpatient care services from a service provider recognised under the Health Insurance Act (KVG).
- You receive your inpatient treatment in a recognised facility (e.g. nursing home) in Switzerland.
- You can produce clear evidence of the uncovered costs for accommodation and meals.
VIVANTEAgreed daily benefits
You qualify as being in need of care if, due to illness or accident, you require a substantial level of third-party assistance in performing the following activities of day-to-day life for at least six months:
- Washing and dressing
- Using the toilet
- Standing up and walking
- Walking up stairs
The level of care needed will be determined by an independent expert according to a standardised index. Four levels are possible: 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. You will receive 25% of daily benefits from 25 points.
Where there is a proven need for care, you will receive the contractually agreed daily benefits, which you can use at your full discretion (without any obligation to show how you have spent them) – for example, for uncovered accommodation costs in a nursing home.
The amount of daily benefits you receive depends on the coverage option you have selected and the level of care you need.
- A doctor's certificate confirming that you require care for more than six months.
- You must need a level of care of at least 25%.