About residential care
When you can no longer manage in your own home, you can move into a rest home or hospital. Your doctor, other health professionals, your family or whānau often help you decide where to move to and when.
Who can move into residential care
There are 2 main groups of people who move into residential care:
- people aged 65 and older who can no longer manage in their own homes — some people call this ‘aged care’
- people aged between 50 and 64 who have a disability or illness which means they need 24-hour care.
If you’re under 50 and have major health or disability problems, in some circumstances you may be able to move into residential care. Talk to your doctor or healthcare team for further advice.
Steps to moving into residential care
You need to make decisions about:
- the kind of care and services you need
- which rest home or hospital you would prefer to live in
- how you’ll pay for it.
The first step is to get a needs assessment through your local District Health Board (DHB) to work out what level of care you need. You don’t have to do this, but if you don’t you:
- can’t apply for financial help from the government
- may have to pay more than the weekly amount set by the government for residential care in your region
- can have difficulty finding a place in a rest home — many homes won’t let you move in unless you’ve had a needs assessment first.
Getting help with decisions
Often you need to make these decisions at a time when you’re not well. Getting good information and involving those close to you can make the move easier. Once you’ve moved into a rest home or hospital, you may not be able to return to your home.
You can get information and help from:
- the team from your DHB’s Needs Assessment Coordination Service (NASC)
Many people also get independent legal or financial advice before they make the move.
You can only move into your preferred rest home or hospital if it has a suitable vacancy. If your need is urgent and there is no room available you may have to move into another home instead.
You can transfer later to your preferred home, but make sure you tell your doctor, the rest home and your family that you intend to move.
Types of residential care
There are 4 types of full-time residential care. Providers sometimes offer more than one type of care within the same property.
- Rest homes — care for older people who can manage some daily tasks, but need help with personal care and who would find it difficult to live safely in their own homes.
- Long-stay hospitals — care for people who have significant medical problems or disability. They need healthcare from registered nurses and support from others to move about.
- Dementia units — care for people suffering from dementia or other mental illnesses, and who could be a risk to themselves or others.
- Psycho-geriatric units — are secure, and care for people who have difficult behavioural problems, including severe dementia or addictions, and need a high level of specialist nursing care.
Contracts with DHBs
To get financial help from the government, the rest home or hospital you choose must have a contract with your local DHB to provide care to the people living in the area.