Assessing needs - A Guide for Carers

Finding out what the person you care for needs and what help you can get.

If someone you care for needs support for a disability or health need (including age-related), a Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) organisation will help to find out what support is available.

NASC operate the needs assessment and service coordination process on behalf of the Ministry of Health or DHBs depending on the services, supports and population groups.

A NASC will help to:

  • identify needs
  • outline support services available
  • allocate Ministry of Health or DHB-funded support services
  • assist with accessing other supports.

NASC services are contracted by the Ministry of Health and DHBs to help the following groups:

  • children and adults with disabilities up to age 65 years (Ministry of Health funded)
  • people with mental health issues (DHB funded)
  • older people needing age-related support
  • people with long-term chronic health conditions.

Some NASC organisations specialise in one of these areas and each part of New Zealand may have several NASC services.

If the person you care for is recovering from an injury, Help from ACC for someone who is injured.

The assessment process

Finding out what the person you care for needs and what help you can get.

Some of the things the NASC will do includes:

  • talking with the person you care for, you (the carer) and the person’s family or doctor to understand the person’s needs and eligibility for support
  • discussing the person’s concerns and arranging for an assessment to ensure they get the right support for their needs
  • assessing what support the person’s family, whānau or āiga can give and what support the family, whānau or āiga might need in order to be able to help the person you care for
  • referring the person for specialised assessments by other services if they need them.

The person you care for should have reviews once a year. You or the person you care for can ask for an assessment at any time if your needs or the needs of the person you’re caring for change.

What support services are available?

A wide range of services may be available for the person you care for. Examples are:

  • home and community support, such as help with housework or personal care
  • facility-based respite care, in-home respite, Carer Support and Individualised Funding – Respite – see Taking a break from caring
  • day activity services, which may include educational, social, recreational and leisure activities
  • residential care (for example, living away from home in a residential home for people with disabilities, or a rest home or long-stay hospital care)
  • mental health services – see Taking care of yourself
  • other services depending on the needs of the person and where they live.

The best way to find out what support services are available is to contact the appropriate NASC organisation. You can contact a NASC organisation directly or a health professional may refer you.

Getting in touch with a NASC organisation

There are several ways to find a NASC organisation

For disabled people up to age 65 years

For older people (65 or over and people aged 50–64 who have similar age-related needs)

  • visit and search Support services for older people then scroll down to select the correct page from the list
  • call your local DHB or local hospital and ask to talk to the NASC team for older people.

For people with mental health, alcohol or other drug issues

Most people should consult their doctor in the first instance. Your doctor may refer you to your local DHB mental health and addiction service, which can assess your need for specialist treatment and/or support services.

Also see Help if you or the person you care for is affected by mental illness.

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