Upset elderly decry tests
Elderly people are terrified when they are assessed for home-based care, says Marlborough Grey Power committee member Myra Giese.
The assessment felt more like a test, she said at the organisation's annual meeting at the Clubs of Marlborough in Blenheim yesterday. Some of the people employed to assess what home help was needed were insensitive and discouraging, Mrs Giese said.
The assessments are done for the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, which funds the care.
Mrs Giese said a two-hour assessment of how much home help she needed, done two years ago, was too long, insensitive and left her in tears.
"Evaluating people has to be done with respect and encouragement," she said.
The assessor made no eye contact and sat looking at a computer.
Mrs Giese was disturbed by the focus on things she could not do and the assessor left without giving any feedback.
Grey Power outgoing president Tony Preston said that during a meeting with health board chief executive John Peters he had offered to supply Grey Power members as guinea pigs for training assessors. However, it appeared role-playing was not included in training and the offer was not taken up.
At the meeting though, members were urged to accept only assessments done in person. Grey Power national president Roy Reid said people should not agree to be assessed by phone.
People in Takaka, where he lived, had their home-based care cut after a phone call.
"If someone rings on the phone and asks how you are, do not talk to them," he said.
"If you are assessed on the basis of a phone call, I suggest you appeal it."
Mr Reid is on a government board which has overseen 75,000 home-care assessments nationally via a computer-based system.
The advantage of the InterRAI system was that it linked in with residential care assessments, making for an easy transition from the home to the rest home, he said. But it was not perfect and people should ring the district health board if they had any problems.
Retired pharmacist Bruce Dale recommended people organise to have a support person with them during InterRAI assessments.
- The Marlborough Express