You may be eligible for financial support to assist with the cost of help at home. A needs assessment will get the ball rolling.
If you (or someone you love) have an age-related disability that’s likely to continue for at least six months and reduces your independent function to the extent that ongoing support is required, you may be eligible for subsidised support. In order to obtain the government funding available for New Zealand residents and citizens, a formal needs assessment is required. These assessments are free.
How do I organise a needs assessment?
Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) services are contracted by the Ministry of Health or District Health Boards to serve:
- people with disabilities
- people with mental health issues
- older people needing age-related support.
A needs assessment can be organised by you or (with your consent) your family, a friend, your GP, or the hospital by contacting the nearest NASC provider. This is called making a referral. Click here for locations or to request more information.
What will the assessor want to know?
Once the referral has been made, a needs assessor will be in touch to organise to assess you by phone and/or visit you at your home. At-home assessments usually take around two hours, and you can have any family members you like there with you.
The goal of a needs assessment is to work out how you and your family can maximise your independence so that you can remain safely in your own home and participate as fully as possible in society. You can expect to be asked a lot of personal questions. It's important to be honest with them about what feel you can and can't manage at home. The assessor will look at your overall situation and the support you already have, then identify any risks and ways to reduce them. They’ll review your physical and mental condition, your financial resources and your home environment.
Once the assessor has a good picture of where you’re at and what you need to maintain or improve your quality of life, they’ll be able to tell you what kind of support is available and how you can access itor they’ll arrange it for you. The support could take many forms, from help around the house, to assistance with tasks such as grocery shopping, to housing modifications, to specialist assistance from an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, dietician or other professional.
Your support needs will be checked at regular intervals, at least once a year, but you can ask for another assessment to be conducted at any time if you feel you need more or less support.
What if I don’t qualify?
If you don’t meet the requirements for government-funded support, the assessor will assist you find other services that can help, at your own cost. Mycare is an option to find and pay for help if you don’t qualify for any government assistance, or if you need extra help to continue living safely and comfortably.
How can I find out more?
The Ministry of Health has a comprehensive booklet detailing the needs assessment process, which you can download here.
It’s worth having a needs assessment regularly especially if you aren’t getting enough help, or your situation is changing. You can request a new assessment at any time rather than waiting for your next review.
Unfortunately many people find they don’t receive enough hours of support to fully meet their needs. Mycare workers are one answer to finding local assistance – thousands of workers are registered with Mycare nationwide.