Following the 2018 release of Caring for our older Kiwis: The right place, at the right timethe NZACA has released an updated report titled Supporting equitable and timely access to aged residential care in which we share analysis of data collected through interRAI during 2020/21.

The analysis strongly suggests that the decisions around both when a person can access ARC, and the level of care they receive when they do, continues to vary according to where they live. This raises serious concerns that must be addressed about how we are supporting some of our older New Zealanders to live as well as they can in their most vulnerable years.

While there are regions which are showing some improved access to care, and care at the right level, it is very challenging to see how little progress overall has been made since these issues were raised in the Caring for our Older Kiwis, and that in fact, some regions have actually gone backwards.

What’s also deeply concerning is the clear evidence supporting the feedback from providers that the acuity of residents’ needs on admission to each care level are increasing, and that the consequent increase in average cost of care at each level is not being compensated for in funding.

The aim of this new report is to assist the newly created Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora Māori Health Authority in their goals of improving both equity and access to healthcare for New Zealanders.

New Zealand has an aging population, and with the ongoing impact of the pandemic and nursing shortage on already stretched resources in the sector, change isn’t an option, it’s an imperative.

“The NZACA is calling on the Government and the newly established health authorities to address these issues of equity and access as a matter of priority, to ensure that there is a nationally standardised process and criteria for determining eligibility for ARC that is used, and responded to, in a consistent way across every region in New Zealand. Our older people deserve nothing less.”

The NZACA would like to acknowledge and thank John McDougall (NZACA Data and Insight Specialist) who undertook the data analysis as well as CHT Healthcare Trust whose Aged Care Fund provided funding for this research. We also thank those who have given their time to provide insights and commentary, or other support, for this publication:

  • Carriann Hall Chief Executive, CHT Healthcare Trust
  • Graeme Titcombe Chief Executive, Home and Community Health Association
  • Anna Blackwell NZACA Nursing Leadership Group and owner/manager of Cook Street Nursing Care Centre
  • Rhonda Sherriff NZACA Clinical Advisor and co-owner of Chatswood Retirement Village
  • Te Hopai Home and Hospital Wellington