Published with permission from North Taranaki Midweek.
Taranaki Base Hospital is encouraging patients to work with professionals to achieve better health.
In March this year the hospital launched a Patient and Family/Whanau Centred Care Framework.
‘‘That’s the organisation’s promise to staff and the public to involve consumers in healthcare at what ever level they can,’’ hospital spokeswoman Mary Bird said.
‘‘As part of the activities that have come out of the framework we’ve set up a council which consists of key staff and consumers.’’
The framework acknowledges that in the past, patients have been expected by health services to fit into the system.
One of the new key concepts is opening up the lines of communication so that patients can participate in their own care. This includes actively encouraging patients to share facts and ask questions of health professionals.
‘‘There’s always a lot of service improvement work in the hospital,’’ Bird said.
‘‘With the patient-centred approach, what we’re trying to do is involve consumers in the planning stages of changes to health services.
‘‘That’s what we are doing. We have got consumers on our project teams who are helping design our services. We’ve had some really good success with that.’’
One of those consumer participants is Danny Ball, who spent time in hospital recently having work done on his hips.
‘‘I felt frustrated that I wasn’t able to give as much back as I could,’’ he said. ‘‘I wanted to thank people. This is a way of thanking them.
‘‘From here on in we want to make it business as usual that patients can interact with doctors and staff and are a real part in their own care.’’
Another one of the tasks is to bring existing consumer groups together, he said.
‘‘There’s so many groups out there it’s just mind boggling, but no-one communicates with anyone between each other. That’s what we’re trying to establish,’’ he said.
These groups cover topics like disabilities, older people and mental health services. Ball wanted to acknowledge his workplace Fonterra, which supports him and his work at the hospital.
Taranaki District Health Board got behind the national Patient Safety Week, held earlier this month.
Staff shared new resources developed by the Health Quality & Safety Commission New Zealand to people passing through the hospital.
One of the resources was designed to help outpatients or people visiting a general practitioner.
Messages included prepare for your visit, listen and share, take notes and ask questions.
‘‘It seems common sense but in reality there are very many people who are just a little shy about asking questions.
‘‘Some of them won’t even bother nurses because they think they’re busy,’’ hospital spokeswoman Mary Bird said.
Another resource, for inpatients, gave tips on how people can stay safe in hospital.
Tips include washing hands regularly, ask for results, talk to health care professionals and write down medication details.
‘‘They’re really to encourage that partnership model because we know that people will get the best health outcomes if they’re involved in their care.’’
Carefirst also adopted the resources for a week.
‘‘We’re going to be getting feedback from them and we will then decide how we move this forward to being a permanent resource for us.’’