There are a wide range of health workers and services available for older people to support them to stay at home. A needs assessment can be the key to accessing many of these services.
Needs Assessment Service Co-ordination (NASC)
The Needs Assessment Service aims to maximise independence and self reliance and enable you to remain in your own home as long as possible.
The NASC is the key agency that can:
- Authorise Government funded services for older people living at home including home-help and personal care assistance. You will need to hold a Community Services Card to receive help with routine housework
- Authorise Government funded short-term respite care for care-givers, day care or longer-term care
- Authorise entry into long-term residential care such as rest homes, dementia units or private hospital. This authority is granted only when you are assessed as having high or very high needs and it is no longer safe for you to remain at home. If you need financial help to pay for long term residential care you may qualify for a Residential Care Subsidy, but you must have completed a Needs Assessment first.
You can apply for a needs assessment, either in person or by referral from any other person, eg your GP. If you are currently living in the community, and your health circumstances have changed you are able to apply for a re-assessment of your needs.
For more information on the needs assessment process and long-term residential care for older people you can view the updated Ministry of Health publication Long-term Residential Care for Older People: what you need to know 2012 (revised 2019)
Care Publications have an excellent book 'Where from Here' that explains the needs assessment process. It is available free from many agencies eg Your local Age Concern; GP's; Libraries; CAB; Grey Power
Home support agencies
If you need support in your home, but are not eligible for Needs Assessment support there are private agencies that provide services that include: companionship, light housework and laundry, meal preparation, shopping, sleepover support and personal cares. Some agencies also provide respite care, nursing care and palliative care.
For information on agencies in your area check with your local Age Concern or the yellow pages or you can visit mycare.co.nz for access to pre-approved home support workers.
Home-based support services for older people
In 2011 the Auditor General released a report on 'Home based support services for older people'. It is available to read/download at: www.oag.govt.nz/2011/home-based-support
Websites of interest
- Ministry of Health has a section on the Health of Older People and how to access NACS in your area
- Work and Income have information for Community Services Card holders and accessing Residential Care Subsidy
- Mycare is an easy way to find, manage and pay for any home help that you need. I gives you access to pre-approved workers, for you to choose from and then you deal directly with them
- Seniorline is an excellent starting point to find out more about the needs assessment process
- Eldernet has a lot of useful information including a comprehensive listing of home help and other support services