DHB regional news
Around New Zealand, District Health Boards (DHBs) are at the forefront of finding better and more efficient and innovative ways of doing things.
We are constantly looking for interesting and informative articles that can be shared across the sector. Here is some of the initiatives currently taking place in the four DHB regions.
Health of older people a priority
By Bay of Plenty District Health Board - 26 September
The Bay of Plenty’s warm sunny climate and pleasant coastal geography have provided an attractive retirement destination for many decades.
The district experiences one of the highest proportions of older people in New Zealand and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board has recently published a five year strategy to help cope with the demand on services.
DHB Health of Older People & Palliative Care Portfolio Manager Sarah Davey says health of older people is one of the priority areas for the DHB.
“The five year strategy aims to promote healthy independent and dignified ageing,” says Sarah.
“We want to provide quality health and disability services for our growing older population and ensure we can manage the likely growth in demand for services in the future.”
The strategy identifies nine standards that encompass the Government’s Health of Older People Strategy (2002) and includes:
• Promotion of health and wellbeing through education, information, prevention and restoring function.
• A stronger focus on service integration with community services and primary care.
• Development of services that aim to address health problems that are particularly significant for older people, such as: stroke; falls and bone health; dementia and mental health in older people; and medications management.
The key impacts we are seeking over the next three to five years include:
• Older people, their carers, family and whanau are supported and informed about their choices.
• Government agencies and local government develop policies that are age-friendly and reflect opportunities and impacts of population ageing.
• The growth rate of acute or unplanned admissions to hospital for people over the age of 75 is reduced.
• The proportion of people over 65 admitted acutely to hospital, who then return to live independently in their own homes, increases.
• The proportion of eligible people over 65 that are supported in their own homes increases.
• The proportion of eligible people over 65 living in long term residential care reduces.
• More older Maori are supported to live independently in their own homes for longer.
• More people with dementia are able to live in the community.
Another area of particular focus for longer term planning is adult palliative care services.
“We aim to strengthen and manage the growing demand for palliative care over the coming years driven largely by an ageing population,” says Sarah.
“Priority areas include: develop hospital palliative care services; improve equity of access to community support (home care and aged residential care); and education and training for primary and community providers, family and whanau.”
Copies of the Health of Older People Strategy and the Adult Palliative Care Services Plan are available on our website: www.bopdhb.govt.nz.
WDHB & MDHB appoint autism spectrum disorder developmental coordinators
By MidCentral District Health Board - 29 August 2012
Whanganui and MidCentral District Health Boards’ first appointed autism spectrum disorder (ASD) developmental coordinators are confident that children with autism, and their families, are benefitting from the region’s new ASD service.
Between them, social workers Sasha Naicker and Sheree Wilton are providing a full-time ASD service for Whanganui and MidCentral DHB children and their families, who until recently had little or no support.
Sheree and Sasha are two of many ASD developmental coordinators appointed across New Zealand’s district health boards (DHBs). Sasha says she became interested in autism while working for Whanganui’s Open Home Foundation where some clients were on the autism disorder spectrum.
“Inspired by their families, I researched the condition and learnt that if children are diagnosed early, the interventions and support that are available can make a significant difference to the children and their families,” Sasha says.
“It’s widely recognised that children with autism behave differently with some children’s behaviour more extreme than others.
“Some children we work with might flap their hands incessantly; others might rock back and forth for hours; some may need visual, tactile, auditory and movement stimulation to be kept to a minimum; others may prefer a firm hug to a light touch. Many children with autism find change difficult, stressful and unsettling.
“We work with children who are very sensitive to things such as seams on their clothing and the feel of some fabrics; children who can hear sounds like water flowing through a pipe or a clock ticking which most people are unaware of. And with children for whom visual noise, such as paintings all over a classroom wall, can overwhelm them.”
Working with paediatricians, schools, parents, GPs, Public Health nurses and anyone else involved in the child’s life and linking families to the right resources is a critical part of Sasha and Sheree role.
Also Tim Dunn has been appointed regional occupational therapy professional adviser to provide professional leadership and advice to occupational therapy staff and managers across Whanganui and MidCentral DHBs.
Besides his former role of professional adviser occupational therapy at MidCentral Health for several years, Mr Dunn has worked across many MidCentral Health clinical areas. His career began in Whanganui in 1990 working with the elderly in what was Wanganui Hospital’s Newcombe Ward and then at Lake Alice Hospital. He looks forward to the challenges his new role will bring to his career.
The Ministry of Health’s Disability Support Services is working to improve services for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The autistic spectrum disorder coordinators are funded by the Ministry through their local DHBs.