Changes ahead for ser vices to elderly
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.