Caring for our older Kiwis

The NZACA has released a report entitled Caring for our older Kiwis in which we share analysis of data collected through interRAI.

While we are encouraged by the results of the analysis that shows the benefits for an older person of moving into aged residential care (ARC). The report raises a number of issues about the ability of many older people to access care when they need it, the results show that many older people are simply waiting too long to access care, and care at the right level varies according to where a person lives. This is postcode health. InterRAI was made mandatory by the Government in July 2015 to ensure adequate and consistent access to care for our older people through standardised assessments, but this is not happening on a regular basis.

We are calling for the interRAI assessment tool to be applied and interpreted in the way they were intended – in a consistent way across all DHBs.  When a person has been formally assessed as requiring ARC, where being in a rest home will enhance their health and well-being, and where the families and residents themselves support this, then we must have consistent policies in place to enable older people to have equal access at the right level when they need it, regardless of where they live.

Caring for our older Kiwis - Report

The NZACA would like to acknowledge and thank John McDougall (NZACA Analyst) who undertook the data analysis as well as Max Robins (Deputy Chair of NZACA and CEO of CHT) who provided ongoing support and to those who have given their time to provide insights and commentary in this brochure. We would also like to thank:

  • Roy Reid, Chair Grey Power Federation, Aged Care Committee
  • Elizabeth Knox Home and Hospital, Auckland
  • Kamo Home and Health Charitable Trust, Whangarei
  • Jack Inglis Friendship Hospital, Motueka
  • Dr Tim Wilson, Christchurch
  • Sprott House, Karori, Wellington

New report proves postcode healthcare for elderly

11 April 2018

New research released today reveals that elderly New Zealanders are being denied the chance to live better and improve their health and well-being simply because of where they live.

“Over half of the country’s DHBs are delaying access to rest homes for older people who need it, and this can have serious consequences for their health”, says Simon Wallace, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA).

The report Caring for our older Kiwis: The right place, at the right time published by the NZACA and based on more than 300,000 anonymised clinical assessments done throughout New Zealand over the past three years, provides evidence of the benefits of rest home care, but also raises serious concerns about theability of many elderly people to access care when they need it.

“While the analysis clearly shows the significant benefits of aged residential care for an older person’s health and well-being, it also shows that many elderly people are missing out on improved or stable health because of where they live.” says Mr Wallace.

“Postcode healthcare is simply not acceptable in New Zealand.  Our analysis supports the Government’s finding in its inquiry into the aged care sector last year about disparities in care across the regions.

“The aged care sector currently cares for around 36,000 elderly people and the analysis, based on the Government’s mandated assessment tool, shows that rest home care adds huge value to the lives of our elderly people.

“The improvements are significant, with 82% of older people reporting that they no longer feel lonely when they move into care, 74.5% had improved health stability and 62.6% had improved levels of pain.

“However, if an older person lives in the Hawke’s Bay DHB region, for example, and is at the point that they are needing aged residential care, they will wait on average seven months longer to access that care, than someone who lives in neighbouring MidCentral DHB.

“The inconsistent approach taken by too many DHBs in assessing the health needs of elderly people means they miss out on those benefits.

“We are keen to work with the Government to progress their policy that the interRAI assessment tools are applied in a consistent way across all the DHBs so that our elderly people can be treated equally.

“With a rapidly ageing population, the demand for rest home care will only increase, and we must have a policy and funding framework that enables our elderly people to continue to access quality care when they need it – both now and for the future.” says Mr Wallace

The full report Caring for our older Kiwis: The right place, at the right time can be downloaded at


For further information please contact Bronwynne Howse, 0274 583 198

Caring for our older Kiwis