Are you receiving home support?

All people have the right to make an informed choice and give informed consent for health and disability services, and receive a standard of care that meets their needs and upholds their dignity and mana.

These rights apply to all health and disability services from provider’s premises, in your home, from a healthcare professional or a support worker.

Home support for older people, disabled people, and others may change depending on your needs and what you are entitled to.  Although the support you receive may change, your rights remain the same.

A support worker is someone who provides support, assistance, or care.

Receiving support in your home can be a close and challenging experience. Here are some things that may help.

Starting off right heading with tick

You have the right to receive services that meet your needs. Setting up a good relationship with your support worker, and being clear about your expectations, is really important.

  • Having a written plan can prevent issues and give you both something to refer to. This is especially important if you have a different support person each day, so everyone can follow the same plan and rules.

    • Provide details of your health condition and/or disability, and how your support worker should communicate with you.
    • Agree the details of support or care to be provided, including medications, allergies, or other important concerns.
    • Regular catch-ups can be very helpful to discuss any issues that come up, or to update your support plan if anything changes.
  • Other details about yourself, not related to your disability and health conditions, are also important, so your support worker can get to know you.

    • Any house rules (e.g., shoes off inside, no-go areas, and no swearing).
    • Any religious practices (e.g., prayer time, food, statues).
    • Any hobbies and special interests.
  • This can help your support worker understand your needs.

    • Do you have the same routine every day, or is each day different?

    • Do you have a routine for the morning or evening that you would like your support worker to follow?

    • Do you regularly have family, whānau, and friends visit your home, and when do they visit?

    Are there other agencies that provide services to you that your support worker should be aware of?

Personal space heading

Having someone in your home can be a close and challenging experience. The support worker should respect your privacy, so it is important to share what personal space and privacy means to you. It is also helpful for your support worker to understand what language or behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable.

    • You could live with other people who may not like having your support worker in their space.
    • Let your support worker know of any spaces you want to keep private and just for yourself.
    • Where should your support worker park their car? Are there any areas where they shouldn’t park?
    • What information can your support worker share with your family, whānau, and friends?
    • Is there anything you don’t like to talk about? (e.g., personal matters, family, whānau and friends, or what you do in your free time).
    • Let your support worker know whose important in your life, and the role they may have in your care.
    • If your partner or family member asks your support worker to do things on your behalf, should they check with you first? Or should they assume these requests come from you?
    • Let your support worker know details of your emergency contacts.
Sorting things out heading

You should not feel you have been taken advantage of, or feel uncomfortable or unsafe. These concerns are covered by your rights under the Code.

Problems and situations may arise from time to time between you and your support worker, so it’s important to have ways to sort these out quickly.

  • Keep the lines of communication open. It can be helpful to have a regular catch-up to discuss how things are going, but don’t wait. Let your support worker know:

    • If you feel the support you are receiving is not meeting your needs, or there are changes to your situation.
    • If they are not following the plan you both agreed to.
    • If they have missed appointments or are coming at times that have not been agreed with you.
    • If you need to update the plan with any changes in the care and support needed.
    • It’s OK to have a person you trust with you to talk to your support worker, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own.
    • Have a family member or friend talk to your support worker on your behalf, if you feel nervous or uncomfortable doing this yourself.
    • You can ask an interpreter to be present when you speak with your support worker. This can be for translation purposes, if English is not your first language or if you use New Zealand Sign Language.
  • An advocate provides free independent support, and can:

    • Speak to your support worker on your behalf.

    • Work with you to identify how to resolve any concerns.

    Help you to write a complaint to the Health and Disability Commissioner.

In an emergency or situation of abuse

If you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, call 111.
Contact your local police station:
If you are experiencing violence or abuse, call 0800 456 450

For more information and help

You can discuss any concerns and get help from the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service. It’s a free service, and advocates are independent of all health and disability service providers and agencies.

Free phone 0800 555 050
Live chat on the Advocacy Service website

If you are unhappy about a health or disability service you or someone else has received, you can make a complaint to the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Free phone 0800 11 22 33

Covid-19 Disability Helpline | 0800 11 12 13

This number was originally for support with vaccinations. This service has now been extended to include assistance for when a support worker is unavailable to provide your urgent care.
The Covid-19 Disability Helpline can provide assistance with:
  • vaccines
  • applying for face mask exemptions
  • advice on Covid-19 testing
  • guidance with managing Covid-19 at home
  • backup if a support worker is unavailable to provide your urgent needs.
The Disability helpline operates 24/7 from 8am-8pm. Calls will be answered by people with experience and knowledge. They will discuss the urgency of your situation and will provide advice or assistance.

After 8pm calls will be answered by a trained member of the Healthline team.

The Disability Helpline is provided by Whakarongorau, a Telehealth provider that manages several support phone lines including Healthline.

Last updated December 2022