Age Concern applauds Wgtn DHB for dropping phone assessments

Press Release – Age Concern

Age Concern New Zealand applauds the Wellington district health board for dropping telephone assessments of people in need of home help and calls on other District Health Boards to follow suit.October 20, 2011

Age Concern applauds Wellington district health board for dropping telephone assessments

Age Concern New Zealand applauds the Wellington district health board for dropping telephone assessments of people in need of home help and calls on other District Health Boards to follow suit.

Starting December 5, older clients will be assessed face-to face, as was routine prior to late last year.

Some older people had complained their home help was cut after a brief phone interview. Age Concern National President Liz Baxendine was concerned senior citizens had been reluctant to say how much they relied on the help.

“Older people can be self-effacing. Phone interviews are not a good way to fully understand a person’s circumstances.”

Mrs Baxendine also says older people can be especially private, meaning they do not want to go in to personal health issues with a stranger at the end of a phone.

“Tony Ryall needs to ensure his other DHBs stop using inappropriate phone assessments for over 65-year-olds and that older people who have had their home help cut as the result of a phone interview are able to be reassessed in person,” she says.

However, Mrs Baxendine fears those who receive home help services may face cuts, as the cost of face-to-face assessments falls on providers who have been given $11 million to deliver the services this year, rather than the $13 million allocated last year.

“This is not an area for cutting corners. Adequate funding needs to be available to ensure older people can stay in their homes if they wish, which is a great saving to the tax-payer.”

ENDS

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