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Short Term Care For the Elderly Being Undermined By DHBs

Short Term Care For the Elderly Being Undermined By DHBs

Many DHBs are undermining short term elderly respite care by underfunding the service and using the contracts as Trojan horses to force unwelcome contract changes on providers.

This means rest homes, aged care hospitals and dementia units choose not to provide short term respite despite a significant demand for the service.

For example, in Hawkesbay DHB the long term rate to look after the elderly at rest home level is $107 per day but the respite rate is only $99 per day and in MidCentral DHB the long term subsidy rate for hospital care is $181.46 but the respite hospital rate is only $168.52.[1]
Mid Central DHB also recently attempted to force a smoke free ban on all elderly in care through a new clause in their respite contracts when the contacts came up for renewal.

“We know the importance of respite care and this has been confirmed in a Colmar Brunton survey which also found 94% of people over 50 believed respite care was a very important service” said Mr Taylor, CEO of the NZ Aged Care Association.

Colmar Brunton undertook a survey on respite care and interviewed 1006 people over 50. Of the interview group 65% had direct knowledge of respite care and 25% knew someone who has had difficulty accessing respite care.

“It’s a shame some DHBs are undermining what is a very important service for the elderly and undermining what has been a key focus of the National Governments since 2008” said Martin Taylor. 

“As we suspected an independent Colmar Brunton survey has confirmed that many of our elderly cannot find a respite care provider when and where they need it. For this situation to change DHBs need to stop underfunding the service and start playing straight in their contracts, otherwise the elderly will continue to lose out” said Mr Taylor, CEO NZ Aged Care Association.

“This situation has come about because each DHB decides what they will pay for respite care which means its fine for the elderly in Nelson but not so good for those in Palmerston North,” said Mr Taylor.

“Also when we ask DHBs why elderly people are not using their allocated respite days, they don’t know because they are noting monitoring usage.  This either underlines the importance DHBs place on the service or reflects their desire to save money” said Mr Taylor.


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