Rest homes: dementia level care, everything you need to know

Dementia level care is specialist care for residents with dementia who require
accommodation within a secure environment with support from highly trained staff.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a descriptive term that refers to a group of symptoms that affect brain function. Symptoms
vary from person to person, but often include memory loss, confusion, reduced concentration, and
personality or behaviour changes. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia.

Dementia is a progressive medical condition, which means symptoms are often mild at the beginning and
become more severe over time. Dementia also affects different people in different ways. As such, not all
residents with dementia require dementia level care.

People must undergo a Needs Assessment to identify whether they require dementia level care in a specialist facility. To arrange a Needs Assessment, please contact your local Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) service. You can contact NASC directly or through a GP, care home, or Alzheimer’s support group.

There are four main types of residential care available in New Zealand: rest homes, dementia units, long-term care hospitals, and specialist long-term care hospitals (psychogeriatric hospitals). Someone with dementia may live in any of these residential care options. A Needs Assessment will identify which option is best.

Yes. All certified residential care facilities must meet the requirements of the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001. These are compulsory and auditable requirements.

If you have concerns about a facility, or would like to know more about patient rights, please refer to the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC).

A dementia level care operator should work closely with a resident’s family to develop a care plan that meets the resident’s individual goals and needs. For example, the operator should seek guidance about the resident’s hobbies, religion, culture, and other interests. The operator should also encourage family members to be actively involved in the residents’ care through regular communication and consultation.

Other types of care

Rest home care

Rest home care is a type of residential care. Rest homes (also called care homes) provide 24-hour care to people who are no longer able to live independently.

Hospital care

Hospital level care is specialist clinical care for residents from registered nurses and highly trained caregivers. It includes end of life care and respite care.

Respite care

Respite care is short-term care for people who normally live independently, but require temporary support. People often seek respite care following an operation, illness, or accident.

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