A range of care and support services are available to help you participate in your community and stay in your own home, if you wish.
A needs assessment is the key to accessing many of these services. Your local Age Concern can help you get through the process.
How to get a Needs Assessment
In order to get anything from publicly funded services, you have to have a needs assessment done by a Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) – they are effectively the 'gatekeepers' to these services, so a successful assessment is important.
Assessments identify the level of support a person requires. For people with 'low' to 'medium' needs, an assessor works with them to develop a support package' to help them stay at home. This can include a mix of publicly funded services, services they buy in themselves, as well as help from family and friends.
To get an assessment you can either phone a local NASC or, most often, your doctor or medical worker will refer you.
What happens during a needs assessment
A Needs Assessor may visit you at home and talk about the choices open to you and how much help you need.
The Needs Assessor will ask permission to look around your residence. This is to note any need for fixtures or modifications.
Family members, with your permission, can be present during the assessment. If a family member or friend has been providing any form of care or support it is advisable that they arrange to be present.
Support at home
Once it's agreed you can remain in your own home, you may need to have someone come in regularly to help with a variety of tasks. These could include housework, or personal care. It does not include gardening or lawn-mowing.
For subsidised help you must have a Needs Assessment to establish eligibility for services.
You must hold a Community Service Card to get help with routine housework.
Help with personal care such as showering and dressing does not require a card.
If you share accommodation, assistance from the people you live with is also considered.
If you meet the assessment requirements you should be offered a choice of home care agency. You can pay privately as another option. Most agencies offer housework and personal care. For nursing care look under Nursing and Nursing Bureaux in the Yellow Pages.
For outside gardening and maintenance jobs that are excluded from the Home Care services, it may be possible to claim Disability Allowance to help pay for lawns and gardening. There is a maximum fortnightly payment for the Disability Allowance, so if you are already receiving the full amount you may not be eligible for further assistance. To clarify your entitlement, contact your local Work and Income advisor, phone 0800 552 002.
Age Concerns occasionally hear stories of older people who are having problems with the home care services they receive. It is important that if you are having a problem you don’t just put up with it.
You or a family member should try talking to the worker. If the concerns can not be resolved in this way or if you need further information about the quality of care you can expect then contact the manager of the home care service.
The New Zealand Home Health Association Inc phone 04 472 3196.
Health and Disability Commissioner phone 0800 11 22 33.
Advocacy Services, Health and Disability phone 0800 11 22 33.The funding agency e.g. District Health Board or ACC case manager.
The Ministry of Health website has lots more information about needs assessments.