WDHB's family-centred care model applauded

29 July 2015
Whanganui District Health Board’s (WDHB) family-centred care model has been applauded by board members who attended last week’s Central Region combined boards’ symposium in the Wairarapa.
At the invitation of joint WDHB and MidCentral DHB board member Phil Sunderland, WDHB Kaiuringi director Māori Health Rowena Kui and Kaitakitaki clinical manager Rihi Karena spoke about the whanau ora family-centred model of care which Whanganui DHB has adopted to improve health outcomes for Whanganui district residents receiving health care.
Mrs Kui told the audience how proud she was that the DHB had adopted the Māori concept of Whanau Ora family-centred care and how appropriate the concept is for all families.
Mrs Kui and Ms Karena said a key component within the WDHB’s commitment to whanau-centred care is the Haumoana Navigator Service introduced last year to support patients, their families and staff.
“Having five full-time Haumoana is having a significant impact on families navigating their way through DHB services, including discharge when they are linked up with community providers,” Mrs Kui says. “Providing education and support to staff, and encouraging them to feel confident about working with Māori families in terms of tikanga and cultural practices, has been found to be equally important.
“We discussed how staff feel more supported and that feedback from families has been equally positive. The boards were interested to learn that in the first three months of this year, 60 percent of families using the service have identified as Māori and 40 percent as non-Māori.
“We also made it clear that the Haumoana Navigator Service is here for any family who comes through our doors with complex health and social needs. Not only is this a huge shift in the way we work with families but it embodies the DHB’s decision to adopt family/whānau-centred care as one of our core operating values.”
The Haumoana Navigator Service is delivered by non-clinical Māori Health staff whose job it is to work alongside clinicians and health professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Mrs Kui says a key element of its success is the DHB’s decision to embed the haumoana into the service teams they support.
“In general, the feedback we received from the DHB leaders and board members who attended the symposium was extremely positive,” Mrs Kui says. “It’s an approach that really resonated with the audience who, like us, are thinking hard about how they can provide the best care for their populations while acknowledging the cultural values and beliefs of the whanau we are here to serve.”