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Long-term Residential Care Booklet

05 July 2004

Long-term Residential Care Booklet

The Ministry of Health is distributing a booklet to ensure that older people and their families have access to good information about long term care for older people. The booklet is called 'Long-term Residential Care in a Rest home or Hospital, What you need to know'.

The Ministry's Manager for the Health of Older People, Judy Glackin says "The booklet covers important issues such as what people need to pay towards residential care, and how those who cannot afford to pay the full cost can get access to Government help."

The booklet also explains what services are not covered by Government funding. Examples include, transport to outside social functions, toll calls or private phones. People can be charged for these services. Ms Glackin says "The amount residents pay for extra services needs to be agreed between the care provider and the resident and should be set out clearly in an agreement or contract."

Although people usually arrange for care themselves, and pay their own contribution to the residential care provider, the Government contribution is paid directly to the residential care provider by District Health Boards. The price paid by the Government is negotiated as part of the contract between District Health Boards and the rest home or hospital.

Government set a cap on the cost of fees people needed to pay themselves in 1994 at $636 per week for rest home, dementia, pyschogeriatric or continuing hospital care for older people. The cap was set because of the high costs involved, and to ensure care remained available at an affordable price to those needing it.

The fee cap is intended to be the maximum an individual should pay whether it is for rest home care, or the more expensive specialist services such as long-stay hospital care.

In all cases the Government pays any extra cost for the provision of basic care where this exceeds the cap. In practice many people pay less than the cap of $636 as they receive a larger government subsidy because they do not have enough income or assets to meet the full cost of their care.

In other instances, people may pay more than the $636 per week for their long stay care, where they have agreed that extra services be provided.

The government contribution towards the cost of dementia and hospital level care is substantial as the actual cost of this care has been well above $636 for some time.

Even for resthome care, the cost of care has now reached more than $636 in Auckland and some parts of Wellington. Rest home providers in these areas are able to receive a "top-up" from District Health Boards, to cover the difference between $636 and the amount the District Health Boards have agreed to pay for this level of care.

The booklet will be available from Income Support Service Centres, Age Concern and Grey Power branches and CABs. The document is also available on the Ministry of Health's website: http://www.moh.govt.nz and can be requested from Ministry of Health Publications, c/- Wickliffe Press, PO Box 932, Dunedin or by emailing moh@wickliffe.co.nz.

ENDS

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