This information is designed to support people considering residential care options. If residential care is suggested; you or someone you care about is likely to have poor physical and / or cognitive health, and no longer able to live safely at home. The decision to seek residential care can be difficult for all  members of the family / whanau.

Residential care is the care provided in a rest home, private hospital or dementia facility. To potentially be eligible for public funding, entry to permanent residential care must be through the District Health Board (DHB). People can enter residential care without going through the DHB, but as a consequence they are personally liable for the full cost of their care.

Residential care can seem overwhelmingly complex. This information is intended to help you navigate the move into long term care. Needs assessment is the first step, followed by visits to care facilities and understanding the costs of care, including fees not covered by public funding.

It can be a great relief for everyone when appropriate residential care is found. Carers can still choose to be involved as much or little as they wish, knowing a loved one is looked after.

Please note that retirement village living and residential care are different. 

If you are considering moving to a rest home or hospital, it is a good idea to arm yourself with as much information as possible. 

These are the steps to take:

1. Organise GP or self-referral for a Needs Assessment

2. Needs Assessment by NASC (interRAI) confirms need for indefinite care

3. Level of residential care assessment i.e. rest home, dementia, hospital or specialist hospital care

4. Discuss options and plan of action with needs assessor

5. Family / whanau / support person visit a number of rest homes / hospitals

6. Establish if premium room fees apply, and if so, can you afford to privately fund them?

7. Choose a rest home / hospital

8. Request a copy of the Admission Agreement and take it away to read

9. Negotiate and sign Admission Agreement

10. Apply for a Residential Care Subsidy or Loan if appropriate, or pay privately

All of this information is in the Moving into Residential Care [PDF, 246 KB] booklet