Home Support Providers join forces to deliver care

Hawke’s Bay home care support providers funded by Hawke’s Bay DHB are joining forces to deliver essential services to clients leading into Christmas and the New Year period due to COVID-19 vaccine mandate impacts.

Hawke’s Bay DHB contracts two service providers to deliver home care support services – HealthCare New Zealand and Access Community Health.

All home support workers employed in New Zealand must have been vaccinated under the Government’s Public Health (Vaccinations) Order by 15 November 2021 to continue to provide care.

Hawke’s Bay DHB Executive Director Planning, Funding and Performance Emma Foster said today while vaccine mandate impacts for Access Community Health had been minimal, wider workforce implications for HealthCare New Zealand due to scale and requirements for more high complex cares supports meant additional supports were needed to create certainty for Hawke’s Bay-based clients requiring essential service supports leading into the Christmas/New Year period.

“To avoid clients being directly impacted, some home care support providers, including Health Care NZ, applied to COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins for exemptions to allow unvaccinated staff to continue to provide support in homes until additional recruitment/solutions were found,” said Mrs Foster.

“Temporary exemptions were granted and expire at 11:59pm on 13 December and we understand there will not be any additional exemption periods approved.”

Mrs Foster said despite ongoing recruitment efforts, the DHB had been working closely with all providers to find temporary solutions, including exploring additional sub-contracting options.

“At this time of year providers are finalising rosters to mitigate any staff sickness to avoid missed client visits. This, combined with vaccine mandate impacts and the potential for COVID-19 resurgence when Auckland opens its borders, means there are additional pressures on service delivery that need to be factored in.

“As a result, our home care support providers are joining together to share existing resources so that clients who still received care during previous Alert Level 3 and 4 periods can continue to be cared for from 13 December onwards.

“This means, however, that approximately 48 clients who receive non-essential home support services (i.e. those who were on reduced or a temporary cease of supports during Alert Levels 3 or 4) may have reduced and/or a temporary cease of services from 13 December, with an expected review in mid-January.

“Only essential service clients as well as urgent/essential new referrals will continue to be provided and accepted during this period.”

Mrs Foster said home support providers were contacting clients directly - processes already in place and consistent with alert level changes.
Additionally, local health providers who refer clients to home support services will also be communicated with regarding the referral process during this time.

Mrs Foster said Hawke’s Bay was one of several DHB regions working with service providers to determine local resourcing and impact following the vaccine Order coming into force.

“The DHB is committed to ensuring all existing clients retain their services while focussing on solutions to support alternative workforce requirements to reinstate home care support services as soon as possible,” Mrs Foster said.


For more information contact: Hawke’s Bay DHB Media Team – 027-599-9507

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