Claim it takes six months to get a rest home bed in Gisborne is being disputed

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A REPORT that suggests Gisborne residents have to wait more than six months to be admitted to a rest home, does not give a full picture, health officials here say.

This is because residential care is just part of the range of services available to the elderly.

No person assessed as qualifying for entry to aged residential care would be denied access, said Penny Forrester, Hauora Tairawhiti needs assessment and service co-ordination manager. Once a request to move into residential care was made, it could be arranged quickly.

The report by the New Zealand Aged Care Association says the country has ‘‘postcode health’’ because of the wide discrepancies in the time it takes for a person to be admitted to a rest home once they have been assessed as needing such care.

The median length of time across the country in 2016/17 before being admitted was four months, the report said.

Tairawhiti recorded the second-longest period of time at 7.6 months — only Hawke’s Bay at 9.7 months had a longer wait. At the other end of the spectrum, Waitemata recorded 2.1 months and Northland 2.5.

Ms Forrester said residential care services were often the option considered when all other options had been explored, used and were no longer working.

They were not often the first resort considered by an older person.

The association’s report said it appeared only half of health boards were using data in a systemic way in their decision processes, with some apparently giving it little weight.

Ms Forrester said the assessment tool was not designed to put people into aged care.

‘‘Rather, it identifies an older person’s needs through a complex set of indicators.

“It uses this assessment, along with a person’s personal preferences and choices, to determine the most appropriate and acceptable supports as determined by the older person.”

“People whose assessments indicate that they are eligible for care are given options that include home support, and many of our older people wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

Residential care can be arrange quickly - usually between 24 hours and two weeks - for an eligible person

“Once an eligible person says that the home supports are not working (or if issues are identified) and a request to move into residential care is made, the move can be arranged quickly — usually between 24 hours and two weeks, depending on circumstances.”

Julie Haggie, chief executive of Home and Community Health Association, said the report “draws some interesting conclusions from the data”.

“We think it is more problematic a direct line is drawn between an assessment in the community and a later one in aged residential care.”

“There were important variables not taken into account in the report.

“One is the circumstances and place of the community assessment.

“We know that 22 percent of all assessments take place in the hospital, for example, when a person has had a fall, a stroke or a serious health event, at a point where a person may be very unstable in their health.

“The other 78 percent of assessments take place in the home, where a person may be at the start of a journey to recover from a more serious health issue, or may be getting reassessed as a result of a change in their health status.

“Based on these conditions, any future assessment is likely to result in improvements in their health, regardless of whether they are in the community or have moved into residential care.”

Health Minister David Clark said the report was carried out by a lobby group.

“It’s a report by a sector lobby group, so I expect it will reflect their interests, and I understand it has not been peer-reviewed or opened to a wider review process.”

A REPORT that suggests Gisborne residents have to wait more than six months to be admitted to a rest home, does not give a full picture, health officials here say.

This is because residential care is just part of the range of services available to the elderly.

No person assessed as qualifying for entry to aged residential care would be denied access, said Penny Forrester, Hauora Tairawhiti needs assessment and service co-ordination manager. Once a request to move into residential care was made, it could be arranged quickly.

The report by the New Zealand Aged Care Association says the country has ‘‘postcode health’’ because of the wide discrepancies in the time it takes for a person to be admitted to a rest home once they have been assessed as needing such care.

The median length of time across the country in 2016/17 before being admitted was four months, the report said.

Tairawhiti recorded the second-longest period of time at 7.6 months — only Hawke’s Bay at 9.7 months had a longer wait. At the other end of the spectrum, Waitemata recorded 2.1 months and Northland 2.5.

Ms Forrester said residential care services were often the option considered when all other options had been explored, used and were no longer working.

They were not often the first resort considered by an older person.

The association’s report said it appeared only half of health boards were using data in a systemic way in their decision processes, with some apparently giving it little weight.

Ms Forrester said the assessment tool was not designed to put people into aged care.

‘‘Rather, it identifies an older person’s needs through a complex set of indicators.

“It uses this assessment, along with a person’s personal preferences and choices, to determine the most appropriate and acceptable supports as determined by the older person.”

“People whose assessments indicate that they are eligible for care are given options that include home support, and many of our older people wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

Residential care can be arrange quickly - usually between 24 hours and two weeks - for an eligible person

“Once an eligible person says that the home supports are not working (or if issues are identified) and a request to move into residential care is made, the move can be arranged quickly — usually between 24 hours and two weeks, depending on circumstances.”

Julie Haggie, chief executive of Home and Community Health Association, said the report “draws some interesting conclusions from the data”.

“We think it is more problematic a direct line is drawn between an assessment in the community and a later one in aged residential care.”

“There were important variables not taken into account in the report.

“One is the circumstances and place of the community assessment.

“We know that 22 percent of all assessments take place in the hospital, for example, when a person has had a fall, a stroke or a serious health event, at a point where a person may be very unstable in their health.

“The other 78 percent of assessments take place in the home, where a person may be at the start of a journey to recover from a more serious health issue, or may be getting reassessed as a result of a change in their health status.

“Based on these conditions, any future assessment is likely to result in improvements in their health, regardless of whether they are in the community or have moved into residential care.”

Health Minister David Clark said the report was carried out by a lobby group.

“It’s a report by a sector lobby group, so I expect it will reflect their interests, and I understand it has not been peer-reviewed or opened to a wider review process.”

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