WDHB nursing staff present Care with Dignity workshops nationwide

26 April 2017


Following an invitation from the Health Safety & Quality Commission as part of its April Falls seminar, clinicians from throughout New Zealand have been introduced to the model of care developed by Whanganui DHB to improve care for patients with cognitive impairment and how this model can help prevent them  from falling and suffering harm.


In mid-April, two WDHB senior nurses presented workshops to more than 400 people interested in hearing how Whanganui Hospital’s Medical Ward cares for their patients with dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment.


Medical Ward clinical nurse manager Colleen Hill and Medical Services nurse manager Wendy Stanbrook-Mason discussed examples about how the Care with Dignity model of care had resulted in far-reaching benefits for their staff, patients and family members in the two-and-a-half years since it was introduced.


“Colleen talked about real patient stories and I discussed the evidence and what our collected information told us” Mrs Stanbrook-Mason says. “We explained how, by having our health care assistants provide close care for cognitively impaired patients, the Medical Ward has not had one fall with harm in this very vulnerable patient group since late 2014 when Care with Dignity was introduced.


“Because Care with Dignity requires health care assistants to provide close care of our patients, we will soon be changing the name to Close Care with Dignity which will also help to distinguish the difference between our model, and one used by the UK’s National Health Service.”


Mrs Stanbrook-Mason says besides the devastating impact that a fracture has on a patient and their family, a fracture can result in a three-week hospital stay at a cost $47,000.


“And if it’s a hip fracture with complications and discharge to an Aged Residential Care facility, the costs can be as much as costs $135,000.


“Money aside, it’s also about preserving a person’s quality of life. We know that people with cognitive impairment are vulnerable and more likley to have a fall. In the UK it’s been shown that a patient with dementia is three times more likely to have fall that results in a fracture than someone who is cognitively well.


“An added benefit of providing close care is that  the patients feel safer which decreases the need for medication often used to calm a patient who becomes aggressive as a result of their confusion which patients with cognitive impairment do experience.”


Mrs Stanbrook-Mason says close care is how clinicians engage with their patients and family/whanau in order to provide patient-centred care which is a key priority for the WDHB.