Some elderly left waiting nine months for rest homes

The body representing the aged residential care sector claims many elderly people are waiting more than nine months to get rest home-level care, after being told they need it.

The New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA) says its postcode healthcare, with figures differing hugely depending on where you live.

Maarten Krepel, 83, has been in aged care for nearly a year. He says no one should have to wait to get the support they need.

"It's demoralising, and [a] bad thing happens and then you lose confidence," he said

A new report says some people are having to wait longer based where they live.

"For a person with the same health condition in Hawke's Bay compared to Mid-Central, that person in Hawke's Bay will wait seven months longer to get into a rest home," said NZACA chief executive Simon Wallace.

The NZACA says those living in Waitemata, Northland and Mid-Central DHBs get into rest home care the quickest, waiting for on average around two to three months after being assessed as needing such care.

At the bottom of the ladder is Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti and Hawke's Bay, with some waiting nearly 10 months.

"There is definitely a variance according to DHB region and that is what we call postcode health," Mr Wallace said.

He says the vast differences are unfair, but DHBs say the figures don't tell the whole story.

"I think that the report mischievously suggests that because there's a 9.7-month gap between the home care assessment and the person entering residential care that that's somehow linked… it isn't," said Chris Fleming.

He represents Aged Care across all of our DHBs and says not all those assessed as needing rest home-level care actually go into a facility, with many staying at home.

"For example in the Hawke's Bay, they have an extensive range of health services in the community," he said.

"So a long gap between the home care assessment and admission to residential care may not be an indicator of anything other than the fact that there's robust services in the community."

Grey Power says whatever the figures are, they want quicker access to care for those older people who really need it.