The process begins with the assessor talking to you (and your family if you agree) or any carer you might have, about your needs, making observations and referring to other clinical information. It's known as an interRAI (or needs) assessment.
- Assessors are located in various places within our health service. Wherever possible the assessment will be done where you live.
- More complex assessments are commonly done by hospital-based assessors who are often members of teams known as NASC (Needs Assessment Service Coordination) or Care Coordination. These assessments can be quite lengthy.
- Less complex assessments may be done by a contracted home support service provider, registered nurse in a care home or other qualified person.
- Sometimes a basic assessment or review can be done over the phone. This is done only if it is thought the situation can be properly addressed in this way. If you have problems discussing such things over the phone, ask for a person-to-person meeting.
The completed assessment produces recommendations about how your health, wellbeing, and independence might be improved. If your assessment shows you will benefit from support then this information will be used to help create a support or care plan for you.
Your support or care plan
Your support plan will probably be compiled by another health professional, often known as a service coordinator, using the interRAI recommendations. They will discuss it with you (and those closest to you, as long as you agree). If you are eligible for subsidised services you may be given a choice of service providers.
Once a plan has been decided it will be drawn up showing the formal support you will get and any assistance from family/whānau, friends, the community and other agencies. It may include services such as: personal care, household/domestic assistance, equipment to make things easier for you and carer support.
Several criteria determine what you pay for and what is publicly funded/subsidised. These criteria include: your assessed need, whether the service is considered to be essential and your ability to pay (whether or not you have a Community Services Card is often a factor).
Just what ‘essential’ means has changed over time. Make sure you let your assessor know what an essential service is for you – it may not be funded but it will be noted. If you can afford it, you can pay privately for such services.
Points to note:
- Those with greater needs are given priority.
- The assessment should be done as soon as possible after referral but there may be a waiting list. If you cannot manage or need further help during that time, go back to your local older person’s service here or your local healthcare service or doctor. In an emergency, call 111.
- If the assessment identifies health conditions that require attention, these should be addressed.
- If after assessment there is a change in your circumstances, including financial, let your older person’s service here
- You can ask for a review if you do not agree with the outcome of the assessment or the recommendations.
- Assessment and service coordination are free to New Zealand citizens and those residents eligible for publicly funded services.