Support Services

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 assessment

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 separately.

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 support.
Examples of these are:
• home and community support (such as help with housework or personal care
• Carer Support Subsidy and formal out-of home services (respite care or having a break)
• day activity services (for example, day care programmes for older people)
• 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 needs
For a list of NASCs for younger people with disabilities, visit the Ministry of Health website and search 'needs assessment and coordination service' or phone the Ministry of Health's disability number 0800 DSD MOH (0800 373 6640800 373 664).

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 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 people.

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 or call 0800 777 7970800 777 797 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 information.

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 to:
• talk to your doctor or another health professional about how you are feeling
• call Lifeline 0800 543 3540800 543 354
• call Youthline 0800 376 6330800 376 633
• call Healthline 0800 611 1160800 611 116
• call the Depression Helpline on 0800 111 757