Help with day-to-day personal care
If you have a disability or ongoing health problems, ask for an assessment to see if you can get help with getting dressed, showering or other personal care.
The government provides help if you need help with your personal care because you:
- have ongoing or age-related health problems
- live with a disability
- have an injury or disability because of an accident
- are recovering after hospital treatment and need help for a short while.
You must also be eligible for publicly funded healthcare.
What you can get help with
Help with your personal care includes:
- getting in and out of bed
- washing your hair, shaving or cutting your nails
- going to the toilet
- rental or repair of equipment to help you manage in your home, eg a wheel chair, walking frame or a shower chair.
How to ask for government help
The help you can get from government with day-to-day personal care depends on your personal circumstances, eg your income, or how much help you get from family or whānau.
If you have a disability or ongoing health issues
Arrange a needs assessment through your doctor, District Health Board (DHB) or Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) team if you have:
- health problems due to old age
- an ongoing health condition that will last for more than 6 months, or
- a disability.
If your assessment shows you need equipment, eg a wheelchair or walking frame, the NASC team gets an assessor from Equipment and Modifications Services — often an occupational therapist — to help you.
If you’re on a low income, you can apply for a Disability Allowance to help with the cost of items you need for your personal care, eg incontinence pads or clothes that wear out quickly because of your disability.
After an accident or injury
If you need help because of an injury, the health professional treating you lodges a claim with the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).
If your claim is accepted, your ACC case owner arranges help for you. They carry out a Social Rehabilitation Assessment to work out what you need. If your injury is serious and going to affect you for a long time, they do a Support Needs Assessment.
If you need help with other things that aren’t related to your injury, your ACC case owner contacts the Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) team at your District Health Board (DHB) to ask for a needs assessment.
After a stay in hospital
If you’re in hospital and need some help for a short time when you get home, talk to the social worker at the hospital. They can arrange help through the Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC).
If you find that you need help after you’re back home, contact your family doctor or the doctor treating you.
If you have someone caring for you
Your carer can apply for a Supported Living Payment if:
- they’re not your partner
- they care for you full time
- you would otherwise need to move into residential care, eg a rest home or long-stay hospital.
You can apply for Supported Living Payment, which can help to pay for your personal care if:
- you have a health condition, injury or disability that means you can’t work now or in the future, or
- you’re blind — you need to provide evidence, eg an assessment from your opthalmologist or optometrist, or a Work Capacity Medical Certificate from your doctor.
If you live in a retirement village
Most retirement villages don’t provide day-to-day personal care as part of their services. If you can’t afford to pay for it yourself, you can get help through the Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) team at your District Health Board (DHB).
If you’re on a low income, you may also be able to get a Disability Allowance.
If you’re a veteran
Veterans’ Affairs has 2 programmes that help with personal care:
- Veterans’ Independence Programme — if your service qualifies you can apply for care that helps you to stay in your own home
- Rehabilitation — this provides someone to care for you in your home for a short time if you have a service-related injury or illness.
Contact Veterans’ Affairs to talk to a case manager about what you need. They’ll:
- help you get the support you’re entitled to from other government agencies
- recommend help from Veterans’ Affairs if no other service is available.
Who provides your care
Most care is provided by businesses that have a contract with the government to provide personal care services.
If you can’t get government help
There are other ways you can get help with day-to-day personal care.
- You can pay for services yourself. If you have a needs assessment, ask the Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) team to suggest services in your area.
- If you have private health insurance, check your policy to find out if they pay for services to support you in your home.
- Some charities or foundations offer services to people depending on their situation. Your Citizens Advice Bureau can help.
65 years or older
If you’re 65 or older, your SuperGold Card offers discounts for some businesses that provide personal care in your home.
Age Concern can arrange for someone to visit you regularly. They’ll find a volunteer with similar interests to you who can provide you with some company.