WDHB's death review process impresses international audience

14 November 2013

WDHB director of nursing Sandy Blake
International health professionals are showing growing interest in the Whanganui District Health Board’s (WDHB) review process of the care given to those who die in Wanganui Hospital.
Invited to speak at the 30th International Society for Quality in Health Care Conference in Scotland, WDHB director of nursing Sandy Blake discussed, in detail, how the WDHB meets and communicates with the families of deceased patients.
Mrs Blake says it’s a process now deeply embedded at Wanganui Hospital where staff value the opportunity to meet with families to discuss the care their loved one received before they died.
“Reviewing every death and involving the family in this process is not something many hospitals do worldwide but judging by the level of interest shown by the 1200 international delegates at the conference, I think that may change,” Mrs Blake says.
“Families tell us they find the discussion very healing. They particularly appreciate having the opportunity to meet with us when they feel the time is right for them – not us.”
Mrs Blake says the ultimate goal is to listen, learn, and make changes where needed, to improve the care Wanganui Hospital delivers to patients in the final stages of their lives.
Mrs Blake was one of 250 health professionals and researchers invited to present at the conference where she also took the opportunity to promote the WDHB to delegates from more than 72 countries.
“I enjoyed being able to promote Whanganui as a wonderful place to live and work,” she says. “In addition to weaving beautiful photographs of the region into my presentation, I handed out USB sticks we’d loaded with information about Whanganui, the WDHB and what both can offer future employees.
“I would urge anyone fortunate enough to travel overseas professionally or privately to promote our region. A number of delegates have contacted me since my return from Scotland asking for more information about New Zealand and Whanganui over and above how we review our care of someone who has died in Wanganui Hospital.”