About Home Support in New Zealand


What is home support?

Home support services includes personal care (showering, dressing, supporting clients to take medication, administering eye drops etc and other assistance with other activities of daily living).  It also includes household management (such as cleaning, shopping, ensuring sufficient food is in the house).

View local Agencies Providing Care at Home

Outside gardening and maintenance jobs are not included in home support services.  But you may be able to claim a Disability Allowance to help pay for lawns and gardening.   To see whether you can get this, contact your local Work and Income advisor, phone 0800 552 002.

Who funds home support?

  • The District Health Boards fund home and community support for those over 65 needing help to live at home.
  • The Ministry of Health funds Home and Community support to help disabled people to live at home.  (Generally for those under 65)
  • The Accident Compensation Commission funds home and community based services for those recovering from or living with an injury.
  • Individuals and families who pay privately for home support for their family member or for themselves.

Am I entitled to Government funded home support?

There may be help available, though it is not just on your request.  You first need to get a needs assessment, which will identify the level of support needed.  For over 65 DHB support, this is by a Needs Assessment Coordination Centre (NASC).   This identifies the level of support you need, and can include a mix of government funded services, services privately bought as well as help from family, friends and the community.  For ACC related support, you would need to contact the case manager.  
For more information on age-related needs assessment, see:

Is home support means tested?

  • To get Government-funded help you must have a needs assessment to see whether you are eligible for services.
  • To get help with routine housework only you must hold a Community Service Card  (help with personal care such as showering and dressing does not require a card).
  • If you share accommodation, assistance from the people you live with is also considered.

How do I get an assessment?

To get an assessment you can either phone a local NASC or, most often, your doctor or medical worker will refer you.

Do I have choice in who helps me at home?

If you are assessed as needing support you should be offered a limited choice of agencies that provide home support. If you are unhappy with the person who helps you, you can ask the agency to send someone else. If you want to change agencies, you should talk with the Needs Assessment Coordinator.
If you are receiving support through the Ministry of Health or Accident Compensation Corporation there are limited situations where family carer may be able to assist you, and be paid to do so. 
The Ministry of Health (under 65 disability funding) offers Individualised Funding which allows those with disabilities receiving home support to have more flexibility in the way they manage their allocated funding and who is employed to assist them.

Some home support agencies/providers will consider employing someone who you would prefer to have helping you, but that person would have to meet the agency’s requirements.
You can also pay privately for home-based support. For people for home support through a private agency, charges can range between $25.00-$40.00 privately, more if you need to employ a registered nurse. Most agencies offer housework and personal care. For nursing care look under Nursing and Nursing Bureau in the Yellow Pages. For those receiving long-term subsidised service, spring cleaning is regarded as an extra and they are expected to pay for this themselves.

How can I tell if the agency providing the home support is any good or not, and whether they will meet my needs?

There is now a minimum standard required for government funded home support.  It is called the Home and Community Support Sector Standard.  Some agencies providing just private home support are also certificated to this standard.   You can also ask an agency if:

  • they get police checks on their staff.
  • they have had any complaints with the Health and Disability Commissioner.
  • what sort of complaints process they have.
  • whether they also seek feedback from you on how satisfied you are with the service.

What if I have a complaint about the person assisting me or the agency, or the Needs Assessment Coordination Centre?
  • Don’t just put up with it.
  • Talk with the support worker.
  • Talk with a manager at the agency about the problem.
Home support agencies/providers should have a complaints process so that you can make a formal complaint and have it resolved.
If you are unhappy with the home support agency’s response you can ask the Needs Assessment Coordination centre to refer you to another agency.
If you are unhappy with the response from the agency or the Needs Assessment Coordination Centre, you can make a complaint to the Health and Disability Commissioner 0800 11 22 33.

This information kindly supplied by Home and Community Health Association.

Where do I get more information ?

The  Home and Community Health Association

The Ministry of Health

Your local District Health Board

Home Support Providers     

Needs Assessment Agencies

This information kindly provided by the Home and Community Health Association

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