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Get a needs assessment

You must have a needs assessment if you want to get government-funded home help. Find out if you qualify and the support services you might get.

How a needs assessment helps you

A needs assessment is a meeting to find out what help you need with day-to-day tasks.

The aim of a needs assessment is to:

  • help you stay living independently, or
  • get you into an assisted living facility with the best possible help to maintain your quality of life.

You’ll need to talk about your disability and the help you need with day-to-day living.

The assessor will:

  • tell you about the disability support services that are available, to help you to continue living independently in the community
  • explain which services are free and what you’ll need to pay for
  • work with you (and your family if appropriate), to develop a care plan that says what care you need
  • tell you if living independently in the community is no longer safe because the level of care you need is high or very high.

Support at home after an assessment — your care plan

Rest homes and residential care

Who can have a needs assessment

If you want to get disability support services funded by Health NZTe Whatu Ora, getting a needs assessment is the first step.

Needs assessments are done by the Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) service. They have offices around New Zealand. You’ll be put in touch with the one that’s closest to you.

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

Get publicly funded health services

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for publicly funded support services, talk to your NASC assessor about other services that may help you.

Who the NASC service can assess

The NASC service is the entry into publicly funded Community Support Services for:
  • children and adults with a physical or intellectual impairment or disability that’s likely to last for 6 months or more and means you need ongoing help to be independent
  • people over 65 who, because of health concerns or a disability, need extra support with their day-to-day lives at home or in care
  • anyone who has been injured and is getting help during their recovery, from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

ACC only does a needs assessment if they think you need support that’s not related to your injury.

The assessment questions you’re asked and the disability support services you’re offered will depend on your needs and age.

How to make an appointment with an assessor

A needs assessment is usually arranged by:

  • your doctor referring you — make an appointment to discuss this with your general practitioner (GP)
  • if you’re in hospital, the hospital staff will contact the NASC service
  • you or your family contacting your local NASC service — you may be asked to arrange a referral through your GP.

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

Contact your local NASC service

When the NASC service will contact you

You should hear from your local NASC service within 2 weeks of being referred. Someone will call you to schedule your assessment.

If your local NASC service considers your assessment to be urgent, a Needs Assessor will contact you within 2 working days.

If your situation is straightforward, the assessor might ask you questions over the phone first, before they visit you at home.

If your needs change or you disagree with the assessment

If your needs change — for the better or worse — you may need to be reassessed.

If you disagree with the result of your assessment, such as the level of care you need, you can ask for your NASC assessment to be reviewed.

When to get reassessed

You can be reassessed at any time. The main reason is because your needs have changed. It’s likely your care plan will need updated too.

Request a reassessment if you need more or different help. Ask your GP to request a reassessment for you or contact your local NASC service directly.

The NASC team will review the help you’re getting at least once a year. This review may be done with you by phone, or they’ll arrange a home visit with you.

How to request a review

If you have an assessment but you do not agree with it or the assessment process, you can ask for the assessment to be reviewed.

To request a review, contact:

What happens during an assessment

A person from your local NASC team will come to your home to assess you. They may be a nurse, social worker or occupational therapist.

Your assessment may take up to 3 hours.

You can invite your spouse, family, whānau, friends, an interpreter or your current carers to come to your assessment.

They can support you and help to answer the assessors’ questions.

The NASC assessor will:

  • use the interRAI assessment tool to assess your current abilities, resources, goals and needs
  • ask you lots of practical questions to help them understand what your needs are
  • decide what disability support services you need
  • tell you what happens next.
interRAI assessments: an overview — interRAI
Examples of questions you may be asked during your assessment:
  • how you do day-to-day tasks
  • if you bathe and dress yourself or need help
  • can you make your own meals
  • if you have stairs, how do you get up and down them
  • what are the things you find hard or cannot do
  • the medication you take and about your general health
  • the extra disability support services you need to help you live independently in the community
  • the activities you like doing
  • what your goals are and how you feel about the future
  • the support you have from family and friends
  • what you want to have happen from your needs assessment.

After your in-home assessment

After your assessment, your NASC assessor will:

  • complete your needs assessment application
  • decide what your level of need is — from very low, low, medium, high or very high
  • decide the level of care you need
  • develop a care plan for you
  • send a letter about your assessment and care plan to you and your GP
  • contact the providers who’ll deliver the disability and home support services you need
  • plan to re-assess your needs again in 12 months.

The providers will contact you directly to arrange the services and equipment that the assessor has noted in your care plan.

Levels of care

There are 4 levels of care.

Your NASC assessor will tell you which disability support services are provided and what you’ll need to pay for yourself.

You need disability support services

The assessor will make a plan for all the care you need and who’ll provide it. Once you’ve agreed to your care plan, the disability support services should start within a couple of weeks. If it’s urgent, help can be arranged more quickly.

Informal support is enough

You can manage with the informal support of your family, friends and community. The assessor will suggest places where you can buy your own disability support equipment and services.

You need residential care

You can no longer manage at home.

The assessor 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, the assessor will give you a Residential Care Subsidy application form. They complete the part of the form that confirms the level of care you need.

Respite care for your carers

The assessor may also decide that your carers (your partner or close family) could benefit from having a break if you have 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.

Home disability support services

Your care plan may include a range of home disability support services.

Examples of home disability support services:
  • mobility aids — a walker, scooter or wheelchair
  • daily living aids to help you in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom
  • home modifications to make your home safer
  • help with cleaning, preparing meals and essential shopping
  • help with personal care, such as showering and dressing
  • gardening services
  • respite care.

These services will help you as much as is possible, to live independently.

If you have higher-level needs, you may need to move into residential care. For people 65 and over, residential care would be in a rest home or hospital.

More information

Find an NASC assessor in your region — NASC website

Disability Information Advisory Services (DIAS) — Ministry of Disabled People

Seniorline — more information

Seniorline provides information for people 65 and over about residential care, community services and how to get help at home. It operates Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm.

Freephone: 0800 725 463 (NZ only)

Phone: +64 9 375 4395


Seniorline website

Who to contact for more help

If you need more help or have questions about the information or services on this page, contact one of the following agencies.

Utility links and page information

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