There’s been high excitement at Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau’s Te Kaahui Ora Maaori Health unit this month, with the team picking up the Supreme Prize in the annual Allied Health Awards.
The Team of the Year Award, Te Tohu Kairangi, recognises and celebrates individuals and teams who have done extraordinary mahi to provide care for our patients and communities.
This year there were 100 nominations for 10 different categories.
Te Kaahui Ora is a provider of services to Maaori who present or are admitted to a Te Whatu Ora hospital or specialist service in the Counties Manukau district. They work collaboratively with other services to ensure their cultural, social, and clinical needs are met to support the best possible outcome for the patient and whaanau. The team is made up of Social Workers, Kaumatua, Nurses, and Admin staff who value being able to work specifically with Maaori.
In 2021, Te Kaahui Ora was asked to develop and expand the existing team to increase capability and capacity to respond and contribute to the needs of Maaori in Counties Manukau, during the covid pandemic.
The expectation was that the team would be able to respond to a surge at a moment’s notice, and provide a suite of culturally responsive health and social services targeted to meeting the needs of Maaori during this time, and to reduce the risk of widening the equity gap.
Te Kaahui Ora Service Manager Delanie Nepia says: “There was no time for a structured orientation. The new staff quickly realised it was hit the ground running type scenario! Some had never worked in health before. I am incredibly proud of this team and all they have achieved during a challenging time.”
Delanie comments: “Our Social Workers and admin staff pushed themselves outside their comfort zone and upskilled to provide covid vaccinations and swabbing. They learnt to site lead testing stations, coordinate inpatient vaccinations, and run a drive in staff swabbing station outside their office at the Western Campus.
Delanie says there are many examples of this. The team often noticed gaps in service provision at the patient and whanau level and adapted their model to transition patients and whaanau from secondary care and into the community addressing immediate and short term need. This included access to medications & food, ongoing health literacy, social supports, co-ordination between services, support to appointments and most importantly whakawhanungatanga [valuing everyone] and manaakitanga [kind] during times of uncertainty.
Over the past 12 months Te Kaahui Ora have worked hard to cement relationships across the organisation to develop and implement a Maaori focussed stream in some of the key priority areas for Maaori. We have developed the Maaori cardiology stream, Te Amo Huia in the Emergency Department, an ED childhood immunisations outreach programme, the Koohanga Reo Immunisation Programme, the Manaaki Hub supporting Hospital in the Home, and expanded our focus in cancer amongst other things. The collaboration is very much focussed on addressing the inequities for Maaori, breaking down the barriers and advocating for processes that are inclusive. Says Delanie: “We value our relationships and know together we are making a difference.”