If you feel like it’s time for a loved one to receive greater care and attention, the first step is to organise a needs assessment with your local Needs Assessment Services Co-ordinator (NASC).
The purpose of NASC is to determine whether your close friend or family member is eligible for long-term care in a rest home. Anyone can enter residential care of their own volition, but if you wish to receive disability support from your District Health Board (DHB), then it’s essential to undergo a needs assessment.
Your family member is eligible for long-term care, if:
They have high or very high needs;
Their condition is irreversible;
and they cannot be safely supported within the community.
To make an appointment with NASC you can either get a referral from your GP or hospital, phone your local DHB and ask to speak to a local NASC organisation, or choose your local NASC online by checking the list on the Ministry of Health website: www.health.govt.nz, or by going directly to http://www.nznasca.co.nz/Older-Peoples-NASC-Services/.
A completed needs assessment application takes about 20 days to process.
Once an appointment has been made with NASC, a needs assessor will visit your home to identify and discuss the specific health requirements of your loved one. This is a necessary step to complete the needs assessment and may include a specialist geriatric assessment. If your family member or close friend is already hospitalised, the hospital can arrange a needs assessment in the ward.
The needs assessor will work very closely with your family or whānau to discuss the options and support services available. Depending on the needs of the person close to you, they may be entitled to rest home care, dementia care, or continuing care in a private or psycho-geriatric hospital.
Once NASC finds your loved one to be eligible to enter a rest home care facility, you will be given a financial means application to apply for public funding.
After the NASC assessment, you can apply for a financial means assessment straight away.
All applications for a financial means assessment will be made to Work and Income. The purpose of a financial means assessment is to determine whether the applicant qualifies for public funding through a Residential Care Subsidy or a Residential Care Loan.
At this point, we advise you to apply for a financial means assessment on behalf of your loved one as soon as possible, even if you cannot supply Work and Income with all the necessary papers immediately.
You will be required to pay for residential care, until it has been confirmed by Work and Income that you qualify for a Residential Care Subsidy/Loan. If your family member or close friend has entered residential care on his or her own accord, without going through NASC first, then they are personally liable to pay for the full cost.
More information on Residential Care Subsidy and Residential Care Loan can be found here:
After completing the needs assessment, the NASC will help you devise a plan of action to facilitate the commencement of the services you are entitled to, and authorise entry into a rest home that provides you with the assessed level of care required.
Your needs assessor will give you a list with all the rest homes in your area.
You have the right to choose any residential care provider in New Zealand that has a DHB contract to provide you with your assessed level of care need. Radius Care, for example, provides residential rest home aged care, hospital, specialist and palliative care for the elderly and disabled in 19 different locations all across New Zealand. For full details please go to: www.radiuscare.net.nz.
If your family member wishes to receive care in a rest home or hospital that does not have a contract with a DHB, they will be liable to privately pay the full cost – it will not be subsidised by the government.
Choosing the right residential care facility is not always easy, and can be a stressful experience. After all, you will be concerned that your loved one is safe and in appropriate care.
The Ministry of Health conducts regular audits to ensure all rest homes meet the standards of the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001.
You can review these audits here: www.health.govt.nz/audits.
If possible, it is best to make this decision in consultation with your loved one. If time is not a factor, you may consider a gradual transition into long-term care, by means of day care and short stays. Moving into a rest home can be a disturbing experience for elderly people, especially those with dementia. A gradual transition allows your loved one to get to know his or her new surroundings, the staff and other residents.
However, more often than not, special care is urgent and there is not much time to choose a facility, or the person may already be hospitalised and is unable to visit the rest home herself.
When making a decision on behalf of a family member, be sure to make an appointment to speak to the Facility Manager, who is there to help you answer all your questions. Before you visit, it’s best to write down any questions or concerns you may have. You may have questions relating to:
Extra costs (additional costs not subsidised by the daily DHB rate)
Meals and other service-related care
Rooms, grounds and buildings,
When you’re visiting a rest home, be aware of how you are being received and shown around the facility. Is the exterior well maintained? Are the staff members friendly, helpful and well dressed? Is the Facility Manager interested in discussing your parent’s circumstances?
A complete checklist to help you evaluate and narrow down your choices can be found here:
You can now rest assured that they’re in safe hands and well looked after.
Before moving into a rest home, an admission agreement or contract needs to be signed.
This is the final step necessary to ensure your loved one receives their assessed level of special care and attention. The purpose of the admission agreement is to protect the resident and the rest home by setting out the responsibilities and expectations of both parties.
The admission agreement is a legal document that specifies such things as extra services you have agreed to receive and pay for, costs and extra charges, liability for damage or loss of belongings of the resident, resident safety, transport, procedures, and complaint processes. Should you wish to discuss or negotiate any aspects of the admissions agreement with your rest home, you may choose to have a nominated power of attorney or lawyer support you.
You also have the right to refuse any extra services offered to you, and if you do it is important to make sure that this is noted in your contract. We advise you to read very carefully through the admission agreement before you sign it, and to request a copy for a relative, friend or lawyer to read.
Once the admission agreement has been signed, your loved one is able to move into the rest home of your choice.
You can now rest assured that they’re in safe hands and well looked after.
"Thank you all for your love and care of our Dad. Also for your support of Bet over the time Dad was a resident with you. We did appreciate all your kindnesses, understanding and friendships. It was a long and interesting journey at times. Thank you again on behalf of the family. -John"View more
"My Husband has been a resident in your Thornleigh home for almost three years. I feel Thornleigh was part of his extended family. The staff and residents have been very kind in supporting myself and family. In early December last, my late father was transferred to Taupaki Gables from the North Shor…View more