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Services offered in residential care

The services offered by residential care providers vary from one to another. They must tell you about the services they offer and be clear about which ones you pay extra for.

If the home has a contract with a District Health Board (DHB), there are some services they must offer and cannot charge you extra for.


Residential care services must provide:

  • healthy meals and snacks — as much as possible they should take account of your personal tastes, and medical or cultural needs
  • laundry and cleaning services
  • equipment that helps you get around, such as wheelchairs or walking frames
  • clinical or other equipment that helps with your personal care — this ranges from thermometers to a stethoscope, hospital beds to hand rails
  • some recreational activities
  • radio, television and mail services.


They must provide:

  • visits from a General Practitioner (GP) — this is usually a doctor they appoint to look after you
  • medicines that are prescribed for you by your GP — but only those subsidised by the government agency, Pharmac
  • nursing care – this includes having a registered nurse available to oversee your care
  • dressings, continence supplies or other products used in your treatment
  • transport for medical or health reasons, for example to and from an appointment at a public hospital
  • someone to accompany you to health appointments if your family or friends are not able to.

If you need hospital treatment

If you get the Residential Care Subsidy and you need to go to hospital for treatment, you can only be away from your rest home for 21 days in any financial year before the payments stop.

This time can be extended if the Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) team looking after you recommends it.

If you need a higher level of care

If you need a higher level of care, the rest home will contact the NASC to reassess your needs.

If the rest home does not offer the level of care you need you will need to move to another care facility.

Transferring to different residential care


They must provide:

  • accommodation that is suitable for older people — it must be comfortable, safe, offer privacy and support your wellbeing
  • a garden or safe outdoor space that has sheltered seating and is easy to get to.

Premium rooms

Depending on the rest home or hospital you choose, you’ll usually pay extra for an ensuite bathroom or a large room (known as a premium room).

Premium rooms cost more per day than standard rooms. Rates for these rooms vary throughout the country.

Premium room service charges

If your preferred rest home has only premium rooms available

If the home you want to move to cannot offer you a standard room, you may have to:

  • pay extra for a premium room, or
  • move into another rest home with an available standard room.

The Residential Care Subsidy only pays for a standard room.

Move from a premium room to a standard room

Every 2 months, you get the chance to tell the rest home whether or not you want to stay in a premium room.

If you tell the rest home you want to move to a standard room, they have 3 months to move you.

If a standard room still is not available after 3 months, the rest home has to stop charging you premium rates.

Care suites in retirement villages

Some villages offer care in care suites — also known as serviced apartments. In a care suite, you purchase an ‘Occupation Right Agreement’, also known as a ‘Licence to Occupy’ and receive care in your care suite.

You might be able to get the Residential Care Subsidy while living in a care suite.

If you need more information about care suites, call Seniorline:

0800 725 463

Other residential care services

Some services are not covered by your maximum contribution, so you will need to pay for them yourself.

The services can include:

  • extra services, for example a newspaper, Sky TV or streaming service subscription
  • premium room fees
  • medicine or vitamins not prescribed by a doctor
  • specialists or other healthcare not publicly funded through the DHB, for example, x-rays. See: Seeing a specialist
  • glasses, hearing aids and dental care
  • personal items and services, for example, magazines or hairdressing
  • clothing and dry cleaning
  • personal mobility aids, for example, your own wheelchair or mobility scooter
  • insurance of your personal belongings
  • leisure costs, for example, tickets to shows or club memberships.

Services that are not covered by the maximum contribution must be listed in your admission agreement.

What you pay for residential care

Contact Seniorline

Seniorline provides information for older people about residential care, community services and how to get help at home.

Freephone: 0800 725 463 (NZ only)

Phone: +64 9 375 4396



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