Enabling older people to continue living independent lives in their own home for as long as possible is a priority for MidCentral District Health Board. Of particular importance to us are people with high and complex needs; those who would not be able to live independently without support.
We are aware of Mrs Cottingham’s concerns which came about following a clinical assessment of her needs. This assessment, like all assessments, was carried out at her home. Everyone has their own individual circumstances and needs which have to be fully considered before any decision about support arrangements can be made.
On Wednesday this week we received a letter from Mrs Cottingham asking for a review. We appreciate the distress Mrs Cottingham is experiencing and are in the process of contacting her to arrange an urgent review. It is important to emphasise that as yet no services have been withdrawn from Mrs Cottingham. She continues to receive home management support and will do so while the process of re-assessment continues.
With a growing older population, MidCentral DHB is investing more resources and services in ensuring people receive the health care they require in or as close to their own home as possible. In the Horowhenua area, where Mrs Cottingham lives, over 24 per cent of the population is aged over 65 years which compares to the national average of 15 per cent. In Horowhenua the number of people aged 65 and over is increasing by three per cent each year.
We are committed to ensuring the older population in Horowhenua receives the care and services they need. Our priority is those with high and complex needs that require a range of services, including personal care, home management and respite care. This group is growing each year as the population grows.
These people require help with showering, getting out of bed and up and mobile, getting dressed, and managing their hygiene needs – what is called “personal care”. Sometimes these people also require assistance with housekeeping tasks like vacuuming, laundry and dusting and this is provided.
Generally however, MidCentral DHB no longer provides housekeeping support (known as home management services) unless there are special circumstances. This change came into effect last April. We are progressively re-assessing the 1,000 people who at the time were receiving home management services only. So far, about 300 people have been re-assessed. As anticipated some people required increased support (just under half) which has resulted in extended services being put in place, and just over half of those assessed required reduced or no services. Of the original group, approximately 150 have experienced change in their circumstances and they no longer require an assessment.
Every person assessed is able to seek a review of the assessor’s decision and services continue while this is done. Twenty-five reviews have been undertaken so far, of which three resulted in a change in the assessor’s decision.
In 2015/16 we spent $8.9 million on personal care services – an increase of $2.2m or 33 per cent since 2012/13.
MidCentral DHB works hard to balance competing needs within available resources. The health of older people remains a priority area for us and we are committed to meeting the growing needs of people aged 65 plus. This initiative is not about reducing expenditure; it is about focusing our efforts on those in the greatest need.
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945