The new measures will make it possible for spouses to be paid, and increase the hourly rate paid to family carers from the minimum wage to similar levels as support workers.
Families have welcomed another change: that people with disabilities need to act as the employer of their family carer, a compliance burden that is often untenable.
It’s very pleasing to see government tackling this issue, but it has been a long time coming and carers have had a particularly tough time of it.
Many DHB services currently give poor or inconsistent advice about their paid family care policies. There is an urgent need for good information about family-funded care alongside better assessments and fair, transparent processes.
Naturally, our focus is on people who are living with dementia and their care partners who have really, really struggled with the support services that have been available.
And while these changes won’t address all their issues, it’s a good start and shows the government is at least listening to the sector.
There are around 70,000 New Zealanders living with dementia and that number is expected to triple in coming years.
While that paints a picture of the number of people involved in caring for a community that is among the most vulnerable of all New Zealanders, it doesn’t in any way speak to the stresses these care partners face.
We are keen to work with government on the changes to make sure the systems operated by DHBs work more effectively for carers of people with dementia.
It’s good to see the funding path is clearly articulated and that there was provision made in the Budget to roll this out properly.
There is a desperate need for change. It’s good to see it’s finally arrived.