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Get a needs assessment

If you need help to stay in your home, or long-term care in a rest home or hospital, you can only get government help if you have a needs assessment first.

On this page:

What is a needs assessment?

When you get a needs assessment, a Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) team works with you, and your family if appropriate, to work out the care you need. The team may include nurses, social workers or occupational therapists. The aim is to help you stay independent or get the best possible help to maintain your quality of life.

After a needs assessment, you can get help with:

  • personal care, such as showering or dressing
  • cleaning, preparing a meal or essential shopping
  • making your home safer
  • moving into residential care in a rest home or hospital
  • working out how to pay for your care.


Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) contacts

There are NASCs in your region that look after needs assessments for people who:

  • are living with a disability
  • are 65 years or older
  • have mental health problems.

NASCs — regional contact details

You can also contact Seniorline to find your local NASC.

Residential Care Subsidy contacts

For information about the Residential Care Subsidy, contact the Ministry for Social Development.

You can also contact Seniorline.

If you have a disability

If you have a disability, contact Disability Support Services at the Ministry of Health.

If you’re over 65, contact Seniorline.

If you’re recovering from an injury or fall

If you’ve been injured If you need support after an injury, contact the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

Contact ACC

Who can have one

A needs assessment supports 3 main groups of people to get help.

  • Anyone with a physical or intellectual impairment or disability that:
    • is likely to last for 6 months or more, and
    • means you need ongoing help to be independent.
  • Anyone over 65 who, because of health concerns or a disability, needs extra support with their day-to-day lives at home or in care.
  • Anyone who has been injured and is getting help to recover through the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). In this case, ACC first carries out its own Social Rehabilitation Assessment and only suggests a needs assessment if they think you need support that’s not related to your injury.

You can only get a needs assessment if you’re eligible to receive healthcare in New Zealand.

Getting publicly funded health services

How you apply

A needs assessment is usually arranged by:

  • you or your family contacting your local Needs Assessment Coordination Service (NASC) directly
  • your doctor referring you
  • if you’re in hospital, the staff looking after you contacting the NASC.

You must agree to have a needs assessment before someone arranges one for you.

NASCs — regional contact details

Local disability advisory services or Seniorline can also help you find a NASC near you.

Disability information advisory services


If you’re under 65

If you're under 65 and need help, talk to your GP. They’ll put you in contact with your local NASC team who will help you work out what care you need.

What happens next

The Needs Assessment Coordination Service (NASC) team contacts you within 2 days to make an appointment if you urgently need help. Otherwise they usually contact you within 2 weeks.

An assessor visits to find out what you need help with. You can invite family, whānau or someone else to support you during the meeting. If your situation is straightforward, the assessor might contact you by phone first.

The assessor will want to know about:

  • your health
  • any support you have from family and friends
  • how you cope with day-to-day tasks, and
  • how you’re feeling about the future.

Levels of care

After the assessment, they’ll recommend 1 of 4 options for your care.

  1. You need home support services. The team then makes a plan for all the care you need and who will provide this. Once you’ve agreed, the services you need should start within a couple of weeks. If it’s urgent, help can be arranged more quickly.
  2. You can manage with the informal support of your family, friends and community. The team suggests places you can get help or services that you can choose to pay for yourself.
  3. You can no longer manage at home. The team discusses options for residential care with you. If you agree that you need this care, then you need to choose a rest home or hospital. If you’re likely to need government help to pay, they give you a Residential Care Subsidy application form. They complete the part of the form that confirms the level of care you need.
  4. You, your partner or family could all benefit if you had a short stay in a rest home or hospital — this is known as respite care. This option is only available if you live with your partner or family.

Rest homes and residential care

Support at home after a needs assessment

If you do not agree

If you do not agree with the assessment or any part of the process, you can ask the NASC for a review.

You can also ask for a review from:

  • Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand, if you’re 65 or older
  • the Ministry of Health, if you’re under 65.

If your situation changes

The NASC team review the help you’re getting at least once a year. The review is sometimes done by phone or they arrange a meeting with you. If your needs change, you can be reassessed at any time.

If you’re ill or have a disability, there is other government help you can apply for.

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