Supporting care in the golden years

When we reach those precious golden years, some of us may want the comforts of a rest home and some just want to stay in the comfort of our own home.  

Many times, this decision is forced on people, soon after they experience a medical issue, and it can be a tough decision for both the person and their whaanau.

To find better outcomes for our patients and whaanau, Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau formed a specialised group of clinicians called the HOP (Health of Older People) Squad.

“Many of our older people desire their continuing independence and I have seen how a fear of losing independence has impacted the mental and spiritual health of our patients,” says Liam Oades, social worker and HOP Squad member.

“So, our first concern as a team is to facilitate the support needed so our patients can live the life they desire.

“The HOP Squad currently work across five general medicine wards and see patients by referral. Our hope is that the service will be extended in more wards and areas.”

Clinical Nurse Specialist, Julie Yap says they have had good feedback from patients and whaanau which has enabled a higher number of patients, who otherwise would have gone into aged residential care, to return home.

“What we have seen with HOP Squad especially in Maaori and Pacific, is that they are being introduced to services they didn’t know about before such as community geriatric services, complex nurse management, reablement, and so on.

“This community follow-up and support provides reassurance to the patient and whaanau making it possible for them to stay in their home longer, if that is their desire,” says Julie.  

If you have an elderly whaanau member, health issues can come up suddenly and it is a good idea to discuss care options or preferences earlier rather than later.

If you are in hospital, your care team can help you with information and support - and don’t forget to ask about the HOP Squad.

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