Several families in Taumarunui are receiving help from community organisations and the Waikato District Health Board (DHB) to try and reduce environment-induced asthma in children.
Patients’ access to quality health care in rural parts of Waikato DHB has long been a concern for the DHB, but the roll out of a new ‘model of care’ which is linking community and hospital services in Taumarunui looks to be the new benchmark.
Integral to the implementation of the Taumarunui Integrated Health Care Model is the development of a number of referral pathways for local services.
Currently paediatric asthma patients that present at Taumarunui’s Emergency Department are offered the opportunity for referral onto this pathway.
Project coordinator Penny Neal said the approach is about working collaboratively with local organisations to try and improve the overall health of the community.
“It is the start of transformation; we have gone from a culture of working in silos to now working collaboratively,” she said.
The asthma referral pathway identifies children that present at the hospital or GP with asthma and refers them on for assessment and treatment.
They are then asked if they would like to enrol with the Whanau Ora programme delivered by Taumarunui Community Kokiri Trust which involves a Whanau Ora assessment and holistic approach to improving social, physical and spiritual wellbeing. For the asthma pathway this includes being referred to a public health nurse for a home visiting programme
“It is important that we engage with families/whanau on an aspirational level not just physical health one – it is the only way we will help change that environment,” said Neal.
Currently the asthma programme is working with a number of families/whanau.
This year a number of other pathways using the same integrated model of care will be rolled out including pathways for the frail elderly, vulnerable children, and a generic referral pathway that facilitates smooth referral for patients who may need several organisations help.