Hawke's Bay DHB refute claims vulnerable elderly forced to wait for bed at rest homes

Claims that vulnerable elderly are being forced to wait up to ten months for a rest home bed in Hawke's Bay are being refuted by the DHB.

Yesterday, the NZ Aged Care Association released findings it claims show over half of the country's DHBs are delaying rest home access to older people who have been deemed at high risk living in the community.

In the report, collated from 300,000 clinical assessments over three years, an older person living in the Hawke's Bay DHB region took 7 months longer than neighbouring DHB's to access care.

However, Hawke's Bay District Health Board said there were no queues, and that "people needing to be in an aged residential care facility usually wait only a matter of days for a bed if they need that level of care". 

Chief medical and dental officer Dr John Gommans said: "The report released by the New Zealand Aged Care Association was written by a lobby group, and did not provide the full picture. The report ignores access to services that allow older people to remain at home if they prefer that option."

Dr Gommans said in Hawke's Bay the focus and investment had been to help older people stay independent in their own homes for longer, with wrap-around care to support them and their families in that decision.

"No-one who needs to be in an aged residential care facility in Hawke's Bay is denied a bed, and neither do they wait in a queue," he said. 

However NZ Aged Care Association CEO Simon Wallace said the analysis "supports the Government's finding in its inquiry into the aged sector last year".

"We are keen to work with the Government to ensure that the interRAI assessment tools are applied and interpreted in the way they were intended - in a consistent way across all the DHBs."

He says the NZ Aged Care Association supports people remaining at home if it is safe for them to do so and they are well supported, however this analysis shows that many people are potentially staying at home too long and could be enjoying better health and well-being in a rest home.

Source: 1 NEWS