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Services offered in residential care

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

Residential care services provided at no extra charge

If your residential care facility has a contract with the government, there are lifestyle, health professional and accommodation services they:

  • must provide
  • cannot charge you extra for providing.

Lifestyle services

Lifestyle services to help with your everyday needs:

  • 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 and stethoscopes to hospital beds and hand rails
  • some recreational activities
  • radio, television and mail services.

Health professional services

Services provided by health professionals or those they supervise:

  • 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 that are 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.

Accommodation services

Residential care homes and hospitals also need to 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.

Services which you need to pay extra for

Some residential care services are not covered by your maximum contribution and must be listed in your admission agreement. You need to pay for these services yourself:

  • magazines, newspapers, streaming services and Sky TV
  • premium rooms — these have extra features, for example, their own bathroom
  • medicine or vitamins not prescribed for you by your GP, or not subsidised by Pharmac
  • specialists or other healthcare that’s not publicly funded by Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand, for example, x-rays. See: Seeing a specialist
  • glasses, hearing aids and dental care
  • clothing, dry cleaning and hairdressing
  • personal mobility aids, for example, your own wheelchair or mobility scooter
  • insurance for your personal belongings
  • leisure costs, for example, tickets to shows or club memberships.

What you pay for residential care

Your admission agreement and care plan

Care suites in retirement villages

Some retirement villages offer care suites in which you can get in-room care. They’re also known as serviced apartments.

To stay in a care suite, you need to buy into the retirement village’s ‘Licence to Occupy’ or ‘Occupation Right Agreement’. You might be able to get the Residential Care Subsidy while living in a care suite.

How retirement villages and residential care are different — Seniorline

Learn why premium rooms cost more

Premium rooms have extra features, for example:

  • an ensuite bathroom — a bathroom that’s connected to a bedroom and for private, rather than shared use
  • access to a garden
  • a larger room.

Depending on the rest home or hospital you choose, premium rooms usually cost more per day than standard rooms. Rates may vary throughout the country.

When only premium rooms are available

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

  • pay extra for a premium room, or
  • move into a different rest home that has an available standard room.

The Residential Care Subsidy only pays for a standard room — not a premium room.

Move to a standard room from a premium room

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

Paying for residential care

Premium room service charges — Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand

Contact Seniorline

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

Utility links and page information

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