Kāpiti Coast Grey Power want to ensure that the effort retiring MP Hon Winnie Laban put into the recent national Aged Care Tour was not in vain.
The major reason for the tour was the unsatisfactory nature of reassessment of Home Care hours, carried out by subcontractors for Capital and Coast and other DHBs across the country. Parliamentarians Laban and Sue Kedgley joined with Kāpiti association, who were already talking to the DHB about their concerns, in a public meeting in Paraparaumu, to unearth real stories about the reassessments, as well as a number of other Aged Care concerns. This was the first of twenty meetings across the country staged by Laban and Kedgley alongside Grey Power associations.
‘Winnie and Sue’s commitment to fix Aged Care problems impressed everybody5,’ said Roger Booth, Kāpiti Coast Grey Power Vice President, who is also currently a candidate for a District Wide position on the Kāpiti Coast Council. ‘This type of exposure of the human stories, which was assisted by supportive coverage by the media, was a new way of doing things. But it has most certainly produced real evidence, across the country, that Aged Care needs genuine attention. Ultimately the stories will be presented in parliament, and this will highlight the urgency for answers.’
Mr. Booth is particularly determined that unsatisfactory phone assessments, using the Canadian InterRAI process, will be applied more ‘sensibly and fairly’. Mr Booth, as Zone Director of the lower North Island Grey Power zone, chaired six of the Aged Care meetings, in Kāpiti, Porirua, Wainuiomata, Wellington City, Palmerston North and Hastings. ‘Our zone meetings involved four different DHBs, but the same sort of Home Care problems emerged.
The National Director of the National Health Board, Chai Chuah, who has a responsibility across all the DHBs, saw the media coverage of Home Care stories in the local papers and opened up discussion with us about what was being explained.
His first reaction was that, like us, he had great difficulty with the fairness of subjecting 80 and 90 year-olds to interviews on the phone, especially when many resulted in cut hours.
In this day and age we are told about the dangers of divulging personal information on the internet and by phone. Why then are elderly people expected to field calls from people they don’t know, and then answer dozens of questions prying into their personal information? Add in that they have to hear adequately, understand the questions, and avoid stoically replying that less than satisfactory situations are ‘ok’, and unsatisfactory results should not surprise.
It is refreshing to have the National Director starting the dialogue sharing our concerns. We now need to make sure that we are able to assist sorting out some improvements. And we are determined to do so.’