Seniors recover at home
Older Waikato patients who have had a spell in hospital or the emergency department are recovering faster thanks to a personalised rehabilitation service that supports them in their own homes.
The Government is investing an extra $40 million into home-based support services over the next four years.
The Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, has seen at first hand the work of the Waikato District Health Board’s supported transfer and accelerated rehabilitation team (START).
These teams are made up of community and hospital specialist older person’s nurses. When an over 65-yearold presents at a Waikato ED, they support that patient so they don’t need to be admitted into hospital. These nurses also provide post-operative care at home so that older patients can return home sooner.
They set individual rehabilitation goals with patients and work intensively with them and their family in their own homes to achieve those goals sometimes up to four times a day, seven days a week.
Mr Ryall said besides the obvious benefits for the clients, hospital wards had been reporting reduced length of stay.
The START programme is innovative and a good example of partnerships between primary and hospital health care. Canterbury District Health Board adapted the programme for their situation after the earthquake with excellent results.
Integrating health services between hospitals and health professionals in the community not only makes sense, most importantly it is better for patients.
START operates in Hamilton, Thames/Hauraki and South Waikato.
Suitable clients are assessed to have a potential for partial or complete recovery with home rehabilitation within six weeks.
Their home has to be an appropriate and safe environment for the client and the team to work in.
START: New scheme helps older patients’ recovery.