Build Relationships, not just facilities

Monday, September 13, 2010

The New Zealand Home Health Association (NZHHA) is calling for greater recognition of the importance of home health support in the wake of the release on Wednesday of the Aged Residential Service Review.

The review, commissioned by leaders of the aged residential care sector, District Health Boards and the Ministry of Health, found that 26,500 to 37,500 new and replacement beds will be needed over the next 16 years to avert a crisis in aged residential care.

Julie Haggie, Chief Executive Officer of the NZHHA commends the collaborative approach taken by the government and private providers to complete the review, but urges government to take a wider perspective before making significant funding decisions.   “Home health care is now, and will continue to be an essential part of health care, it assists people to live independent lives, and is cost-effective. Many innovative solutions germinate in the home and community sector and a higher quality of engagement with funders is needed to ensure these are successful.”

Ms Haggie notes that the report acknowledges the cost of providing home support is substantially lower than for residential care and it also mentions alternatives that are already being provided.

”Models such as individualised funding, restorative care and integrated family health care are already being piloted successfully in the home health sector, for elderly, and those with mental and physical disabilities and illnesses.”

Ms Haggie says an example is the Restorative Home Based Support contract being run by Capital and Coast District Health Board.  This contract includes multi-disciplinary teams which provide physiotherapy, occupational therapy and nursing oversight to their clients.    It has great potential for improved outcomes and independence for clients, yet the providers struggle to manage this contract within the DHB funding model.

“Home health providers across New Zealand currently support people who have been assessed as requiring hospital level residential care. Most already employ nurses and other allied health professionals and are well and truly ready to expand multi-disciplinary teams to support clients funded by DHB older persons contracts.   They just need the willingness of DHBs and other funders to partner with them to work out manageable, cost-effective funding models.” 

“Our sector is ready to provide part of the solution,” says Ms Haggie.



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