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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Moving to a different rest home or hospital

Te hūnuku ki tētahi whare pēperekōu, ki tētahi hōhipera rerekē rānei

Moving home1When older people move into a rest home, it becomes their home. They get to know the staff and other residents. They hopefully feel safe and happy there.

Sometimes, an older person will need to move to a different rest home if their current facility is unable to provide the care they need. This can cause anxiety and distress.

Moving to another facility

If you wish or need to move to another rest home, it's important to notify your Needs Assessment and Service Coordinator (NASC). They can be contacted by phoning Older Persons' Health on (03) 337-7765, or emailing Your coordinator will ensure that the new facility is appropriate and the necessary paperwork is completed. This makes sure that any funding is redirected accordingly.

You can also contact Seniorline to find your local NASC by phoning 0800-725-463.

Your agreement with your current facility should have how much notice you need to give. You may also need a reassessment if it has been some time since your last assessment, you need a different level of care or if the new facility is in another region.

When an older person is reassessed

Rest home staff constantly assess all residents to make sure they're getting the right care. They assess the residents' wellbeing and whether the staff can look after them and the other residents safely. They will talk to you about any concerns.

If the rest home is no longer able to provide you with the appropriate care and safety, the rest home staff or your general practice team will ask for a reassessment of your level of care. The rest home staff, or your general practice team will talk to you and explain why they're doing this. There may be some delay before the reassessment happens. But it can happen more quickly if the situation is urgent.

People can feel sad or angry when it's suggested they need to move. It's normal to feel this way and the person doing the reassessment understands this. They will work with you but there are times when it is not always possible to come up with an answer that everyone is completely happy with.

During a reassessment

The hospital staff member doing the reassessment will read the latest staff assessment of the person, so they're aware of what the issues and concerns are. The person doing the assessment will listen to what you think and feel about you or your loved ones needs.

The assessor will talk with you and your loved ones. It may be possible to move to a different area within the same rest home if the right level of care is available. If it's not, it may be necessary to move to a different rest home.

What happens next

moving home2Not every older person who is reassessed has to move. The assessor may suggest trying something new, such as changing medication or managing problems in different ways, to avoid the need to move. However, if the changes do not work well, moving may be necessary.

The assessor will complete all the necessary paperwork.

A different member of the hospital team called a service coordinator will help with the move itself. They will also answer any questions you may have. Together they will help you choose a more suitable rest home.

If you do not agree with the decision

After a reassessment of an older person's level of care, whānau (family) may not agree with the decision. You can discuss your concerns with the assessor and ask any questions you have. If you still disagree, you can ask for a second opinion.

If it will cost more when an older person moves

Older people who receive care in a residential complex either pay the entire cost privately or receive a government subsidy. The cost of care is different in different parts of New Zealand. Even if it costs more for the higher level of care, the difference in cost will be paid by the government.

All rest homes and hospitals offer standard rooms and services. Many facilities also offer extra services and aspects in some rooms, such as private bathrooms. The rest home or hospital can charge for these extra features and the cost can vary a lot. You'll have to decide whether it's worth paying for these extras. You'll also need to know what happens if you can no longer pay for them. Seniorline (see below) can offer useful advice about premium charges.

For more information

You can find out more through the following services and websites.

Age Concern


Phone Age Concern Canterbury: (03) 366‑0903 or freephone 0800‑80-33-44.

You can find information and advice about rest homes and other retirement facilities under Residential care.



This website has information about rest homes and residential care, including a directory of what is available in your area.



Freephone: 0800‑725‑463.

This toll-free service provides information about services and help for older people

Where from here?

This booklet (published in association with Eldernet) explains some aspects of residential care. You can order it online. The booklet is free but there is a small cost for postage.

Work and Income Residential Subsidy Unit


Freephone: 0800-999-199.

This unit can answer all questions about residential subsidies.

Written by senior medical officer, Older Persons Mental Health, Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2023.


Page reference: 282102

Review key: HIRRV-48277