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DHB hails family support plan

MidCentral District Health Board has declared an initiative encouraging patients’ whānau and friends to assist in their hospital care is proving to be successful, with seven wards now running the program.

Mahi Tahi – Better Together was introduced at Palmerston North Hospital’s Ward 26 in late 2018 as a pilot designed to offer a people-centred, whanau-inclusive approach that acknowledged the important role loved ones play in a person’s healthcare journey.

Associate Director of Nursing, Acute and Elective Specialist Services at MidCentral, Jan Dewar said whānau or friends were able to become a Kaimanaaki (Partner in Care), which enabled them to play a prominent role in the care of their loved one while they were in hospital.

“Kaimanaaki partner with hospital staff and undertake any tasks they wish to help with, including dressing, assisting with eating, providing company and helping their loved one go for walks,” Ms Dewar said.

“They can visit at any time and stay overnight if required.”

She said Mahi Tahi was now operating in six other wards and had drawn positive feedback from staff, patients and whānau.

Ms Dewar said Mahi Tahi was one aspect of putting the theme of partnership into action, which was a key aspect of the District Health Board’s strategy.

“The Mahi Tahi program further enables and encourages staff to include whānau as partners and members of the patient care team.”

“For patients who may be confused or disorientated, the ability to have whānau or familiar faces involved in the care provides comfort and support while they are in hospital and helps greatly with the transition out of hospital,” she said.