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Selecting a rest home or hospital is a very individual choice best decided by you and your family / whanau.

Many care providers now have their own websites, so you can view before visiting.

Eldernet() lists all rests homes nationally. It has vacancy information for most regions and a search function that allows you to look for particular features.

Rest home audit information is listed on the Ministry of Health website().

Premium room fees are common in residential care - there is no public funding for these fees. Premium room fees typically range from $10 to $85 per day. Your choice of facility will be limited if you are unable to fund premium room fees privately. Ask careful questions when visiting a facility to see if premium room fees apply.

Often the need for residential care is urgent. If there is no vacancy at your first choice, you might have to consider another facility. This sometimes happens when you are in a public hospital and there is pressure for discharge. If you plan to transfer, it is best to make this clear from the beginning. Try to negotiate a shorter period of notice in the Admission Agreement to avoid paying both facilities during the transfer process.

If you move into a facility and then decide it is not the right place, you can move again. Re-contact Needs Assessment to begin the transfer process. See Transferring to a Different Facility.

Day care or short stays can be useful to get to know a facility. This way you are not moving to a totally new environment and there is time to get to build relationships with staff and residents. Not all facilities offer these services.

Viewing the facility

Making an appointment to view a facility ensures the manager is free to talk with you, or you may prefer to arrive unannounced. It is best to avoid first thing in the mornings and mealtimes, as these are the busiest times for staff. 

See useful questions to ask [PDF, 258 KB] when viewing a facility.

Levels of care

There are four types of care: rest home, dementia rest home, private hospital and specialist private hospital. All facilities must be certified by Ministry of Health and have a contract with the local District Health Board

Please note there are no specialist convalescent facilities. Some people choose to stay in a rest home or private hospital for a short time. There is no public funding for convalescent care. 

Levels of Care

Rest Homes

Rest homes provide 24 hour care to older people who are no longer able to live safely at home. Residents may be able to do some daily tasks by themselves but are likely to need support showering, dressing and moving around.

Rest homes employ a registered nurse some hours each week, there is at least one care staff on-duty at all times. More staff members are on duty according to the number of residents.

Dementia Rest Home

A person with dementia does not necessarily require care in a dementia rest home. The needs assessor consults with others, e.g. a psycho-geriatrician, and recommends the most appropriate type of care facility. Residents of dementia rest homes are often confused and require specialist care in a secure environment.

Dementia rest homes provide staff trained in dementia care and have enclosed garden areas with restricted access to the street. Dementia rest homes employ a registered nurse some hours per week and have one staff member on duty at all times, with another readily available on-site.

Private Hospitals

These hospitals care for older people who need nursing due to illness and disability. Although they are called hospitals, long-stay hospitals are very different from public hospitals. They do not have doctors on duty 24 hours, or specialised rehabilitation. Hospital residents tend to be immobile and many of them are confused.

Private hospitals have two staff on duty at all times, one registered nurse and one caregiver. Staffing is according to residents’ needs. 

Specialist Hospitals

Specialist hospitals are sometimes called ‘psychogeriatric hospitals’. The residents have high dependency needs coupled with challenging or noisy behaviours. The behaviour may be due to dementia, or the combination of an age-related disability and a mental health condition. Staff members are trained to manage this type of behaviour.

Specialist hospitals have a minimum of two staff on duty at all times, one registered nurse and one caregiver. For larger facilities with several units on one site, registered nursing cover can be shared between units for the hours 10pm to 7am.

Care Suites

Some villages offer care in serviced apartments / care suites. The apartment is purchased in the same way as any retirement village property and ownership is by Occupation Right Agreement (ORA). The apartment is certified by Ministry of Health and contracted to the local District Health Board to provide residential care (usually rest home or hospital care) in the apartment. You pay for care privately or via the Residential Care Subsidy.