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Interview with CEO Home and Community Health Asssociation

Liam Butler interviews Julie Haggie CEO Home and Community Health Association

Liam Butler
10 February 2014

Julie Haggie is the Chief Executive Officer Home and Community Health Association. Its purpose is to provide a national voice that promotes and advances excellence, partnership and sustainability for the home and community sector. Its vision is for New Zealanders have access to safe, compassionate, quality home and community health services. www.nzhha.org.nz

Julie, Home health care includes a range of services available for people who need support to live at home. Services include personal care, household management, nursing treatment, and complex care for people with serious needs. By providing such a service, agencies can help older people remain at home rather than have to move into residential care. What do you think health professionals can do to ensure that older people are referred to and use Home health Care services in a timely and efficient manner?

Health professionals are able to refer people to the Needs Assessment Agencies, and can do so at any time. If any health professional thinks that an older person is struggling to live independently at home, but could do so safely with some home support, then they should either directly refer the person to a NASC (Needs Assessment and Service Coordination) service, or suggest that the person on their family seek an assessment. Most people want to remain in their own homes, but many folks are still reluctant to seek help. Families should also look into the range of services (state funded and privately funded) that support people to remain living in their own homes.

Julie, the funded home health support varies according their District Health Boards Contracts. How can an older person see what level of support they would get if they lived in another part of the country?

Most District Health Boards provide information on their websites about the services that they provide and Needs Assessment Agencies, or any contracted home support agency in a District can also tell you what services are available in that area. In terms of working out what level of support they might get, an older person who is moving from one area to another could ask their local Needs Assessment Agency for advice, but much depends on the service model and the funding available in the area they are heading to. There would be a transmission of information between the Needs Assessment Agencies. The NASC in the area a person is moving to might want to do another needs assessment, depending on how long it was since a person had a full needs assessment in the area they came from. It would be difficult to establish the variations in allocation of services from one area from a distance as much depends on the service model and the funding and how long it has been since a needs assessment has been done.

There is increasing research into the benefits of physical activity for older people in New Zealand. Can you give some examples where Home Based Support has focused on enabling people to do their own ironing etc and the benefits that this has brought?

The model of Restorative Care operates in several health districts in New Zealand. Under this model of support the care worker works alongside the client to help them improve and restore function, build their strength, capacity and independence. The idea behind it is simple - that it is better for us to retain our independence by setting goals and working on physical, social and mental strengths rather than for someone else to do these things for us. In home support this can include coaching of an exercise programme designed to increase mobility or prevent falls, assisting clients to re-establish social connections in the community, regaining skills and practical support to keep the whole household going. Workers can assist the service users to fully use their mobility and technology support aids and can show clients with mobility problems and their families how to move safely. Depending on the funding model and available funding, in some areas home support agencies may also employ physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists.

Profile
Julie Haggie's interest in social justice and equity drove her activism during her youth. She gained a first class Honours Degree in English Literature, and her first meaningful employment was as a secondary school teacher. She then moved into corporate services, with the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. From 2000 she worked as CEO and Registrar for the Veterinary Council of New Zealand until she took a break in 2007 to care for her twins. She was appointed CEO for the New Zealand Home Health Association in 2010. NZHHA is the peak body for employers of home support workers. Julie sits on the Board of Careerforce ITO, and on the Coordinating Committee of ANGOA, and she is a member of the Institute of Directors.

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