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Guidelines Developed To Prioritise People Needing Aged Residential Care

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Guidelines Developed To Prioritise People Needing Aged Residential Care

Following the 22 February earthquake and subsequent loss of over 600 rest home beds in Canterbury, Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) has been working with an expert panel of people from across the aged care sector to develop a set of guidelines to help determine who will have priority for the limited number of rest home beds in the region.

The guidelines are designed to be fair and take the person's opinion, family situation and level of medical need into account. Executive director of allied health for CDHB, Stella Ward, says each request for a residential care bed will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

"Importantly, we have agreed that no-one will be moved from their place of residence, even if another person is prioritised more highly. People will only be placed into residential care outside of Canterbury if they choose to do so; or there are safety reasons for doing so, or it's necessary during a state of emergency," Stella Ward said.

"Every request for a residential care bed - whether it's a new request or a transfer back to the region will be assessed using the same guiding principles and prioritisation criteria. This will be through the DHB's Single Point Of Entry (SPOE) team.

"We know many families are keen to get their loved ones back home to Christchurch. Where possible we are allocating 20% of the available beds to residents returning to Canterbury. The reality is there are very few beds available. With winter around the corner and an increased demand for residential care this number is likely to fluctuate.

Stella Ward said the DHB had increased the amount and variety of care and support services available to people in their own homes.

"As an alternative to residential care, we're happy to tailor a range of services to help people live independently in their own homes. This isn't for everyone, but for some - particularly those who have moved in with family on a temporary basis since the quake, this is a good option," Stella Ward said.

Since 22 February over 300 rest home residents have been relocated out of Christchurch. An additional 200 residents have been relocated within Canterbury. Of the remaining aged residential care facilities, ten have serious infrastructure problems and seven were totally evacuated and one partially evacuated.

Canterbury District Health Board can now offer limited assistance to families who require help with the costs of visiting their loved one who has been moved to a rest home out of town. "We know this situation is far from ideal, however, the wellbeing and safety of rest home residents remains our prime concern. Families can contact (03) 337 8937 for more information on this.

"We will be contacting each family over the coming week to discuss the ongoing plans for care for their loved one," Stella Ward said.

She added that it was important to the DHB and the people who developed the guidelines that residents, their families and the aged residential care providers are directly informed of the new guidelines and process for relocation back to Canterbury.

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