Labour promises action on aged care

David Cunliffe
David Cunliffe
The Labour Party says it would set up a working group for aged care within its first 100 days in office, which would be tasked with a raft of changes including better pay for caregivers.

Labour leader David Cunliffe outlined the party's senior citizens policy at an Upper Hutt Grey Power today, which included the previously announced free healthcare for over-65s.

The Aged Care Working Group would develop a "continuum of care" model which created individualised plans for the elderly from home to hospital to respite and palliative care.

It would establish minimum staffing levels at rest homes and other aged care facilities.

And it would ensure that elder abuse and neglect prevention services were consistent across the country.

The working group would have to advise on timeframes for these changes and funding to implement them.

Mr Cunliffe said: "Our elderly - our grandparents, our mums and dads - deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, as do the people who look after them."

"We need to support older New Zealanders to stay in their own homes longer with quality home-based care and, where there is a need for residential care, look at how we can deliver a less institutionalised approach that puts the individual and their needs first."

He said National had under-funded aged care hospitals and rest homes.

Labour would ensure pay parity for nurses and caregivers working in the Aged Care sector - both residential and home support. They currently earned less than workers employed by District Health Boards.

The working group would also introduce minimum qualification standards for aged care workers and fair compensation for their travel.

An Aged Care Commissioner would be established to oversee implementation of the working group's plan.

- By Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald

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