Changes ahead for ser vices to el­derly

Central Leader - - News -

B y S c o t t M o rg a n Changes are on the way for home help ser­vices for the el­derly.

From July next year, older peo­ple who are house­bound can ac­cess a pool of fund­ing for a va­ri­ety of tasks, from looking af­ter their house and gar­den to pro­vid­ing trans­port to visit fam­ily.

Auck­land District Health Board plan­ning and fund­ing man­ager for older peo­ple Lisa Ge­stro says any provider can be used for the work.

“It’s not un­com­mon for peo­ple to have pri­vate ar­range­ments. The new plan could sub­sidise pri- vate ar­range­ments so they can con­tinue.”

El­derly now only re­ceive help from ap­proved con­trac­tors for do­mes­tic tasks around the house or med­i­cal sup­port if they’re too ill to care for them­selves.

Ms Ge­stro says the cost of the cur­rent scheme is be­tween $ 12 mil­lion and $15m a year.

The bud­get has not yet been de­ter­mined for the new scheme, and both may need to run in par­al­lel dur­ing the changeover.

Age Con­cern el­derly co­or­di­na­tor Emsie Wal­ters says the new scheme will pro­vide el­derly with more con­trol over the kind of ser­vices they re­ceive. There is some dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the cur­rent sys­tem, she says.

“A lot of older peo­ple are too fright­ened to com­plain or they think the ser­vice might be taken away,” she says.

But she hopes the change will pro­vide a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for pa­tients and car­ers.

As­sess­ment cri­te­ria for whether a pa­tient is el­i­gi­ble for home help will re­main the same. A case man­ager will have to ap­prove each el­e­ment of fund­ing for specifi c tasks.

Pa­tients will get a dif­fer­ent level of fund­ing de­pend­ing on need.

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