This information is from the Ministry of Social Development's
Carer Guide. Your local MDA Fieldworker can help you work through
this process and are available through your local branch.
Access typically starts with a needs
The best way to find out what support services may be available
to you is to contact a Needs Assessment and Service Co-ordination
(NASC) organisation. A NASC organisation or NASC equivalent will
work with the person you are supporting and where appropriate you
as their carer, to identify the person's needs.
Some NASC organisations will assess your needs as a carer
The NASC organisation will tell you what kinds of support and
services are available and help you co-ordinate these services. The
person you support should have regular reviews (often this happens
once a year). You can ask for another assessment at any time if
your needs or the needs of the person you are supporting change.
Make sure you let the NASC organisation know if you need a new
assessment done urgently.
What support services are available?
A wide range of services may be available for the person you
Examples of these are:
• home and community support (such as help with housework or
• Carer Support Subsidy and formal out-of home services (respite
care or having a break)
• day activity services (for example, day care programmes for
• residential care (living away from home, for example, a
community residential home for people with a disability, or a rest
home or long-stay hospital care for older people)
• other services depending on the needs of the person you support
and the area where you live.
Who does needs assessments?
Younger people with disabilities (under 65
years) and Younger people with chronic health
For a list of NASCs for younger people with disabilities, visit
the Ministry of Health website www.health.govt.nz and search
'needs assessment and coordination service' or phone the Ministry
of Health's disability number 0800 DSD MOH (0800 373
Older people (aged 65 years and over and people aged
50-64 years who have similar needs)
For a list of NASCs for older people, visit www.health.govt.nz and search
'access support services older people' or call your local DHB or
your local hospital and ask to talk to the NASC team for older
Look after yourself!
It's easy to become isolated and stressed when you're a carer.
It is important to take care of yourself - looking after your own
physical and emotional wellbeing will help to keep you going.
Getting out and keeping healthy
The demands of caring may make it difficult for you to have time
for yourself and have your own interests.
Taking time out for yourself, even if it is for a few hours a
week, can make a big difference. Having time to relax, catch up
with friends and family or learn a new skill can be beneficial to
your wellbeing. Contact your needs assessment team to see if
funding is available to assist you with respite.
Talking to someone
If you are feeling worried or anxious, talking to someone about
your situation can help. You may want to talk to family, friends or
neighbours. In many areas carer support groups can keep you in
touch with other people who share similar experiences. See www.carersair.net.nz or call
797 to find your nearest carer support
group. The MDA can also put you in touch with condition specific support groups
and counseling services. Please contact your local branch for more
It's normal for people to get stressed at different stages in
life. This can particularly be the case when your caring role
changes - whether you are new to a caring role and unsure of the
supports available, or the person you are supporting has increased
caring needs. If you are finding your thoughts and emotions
overwhelming, you may need extra support. Some options are
• talk to your doctor or another health professional about how you
• call Lifeline 0800 543
• call Youthline 0800 376
• call Healthline 0800 611
• call the Depression Helpline on 0800 111 757