Health Matters EBOP September 2017

Whakatāne medical supplies abroad Every six months or so Lydia Snell packs up a van loaded to the brim with unwanted medical supplies from Whakatāne Hospital bound for countries less developed than New Zealand. It’s a ritual the Paediatric Liaison Nurse has been doing for around ten years, and one she never tires from. “I’m one of those people who can’t stand wastage. I couldn’t as a child and I can’t still. For me, it’s a labour of love. I’m passionate about helping people,” says Lydia. Lydia’s usual role, Paediatric Liaison Nurse, is working alongside a social worker to ensure children and their families in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, have access to the appropriate health interventions that they may require, both in the hospital and in the community. Over the years she’s also become renowned at the hospital and within the wider community as the ‘go-to’ person for organising a new home for surplus medical supplies. Lydia takes the surplus medical supplies and equipment to Auckland where they’re dispatched by Medical Aid Abroad (MAA). “I get calls from all over the hospital and nurses in the community too, wanting to offl oad medical equipment and supplies that are no longer needed. The tricky thing is fi nding space to store things.” Unopened incontinence products, cord clamps, old style crutches, and walking frames are among the list of goods that are packed up. Pharmaceuticals are strictly off the list. MAA Stores Manager Dr Mary Joku Ponifasio says, Lydia seems to have a knack of producing medical supplies that developing countries have requested, and she’d almost given up hope of fi nding. “Somehow she brings something that is needed for overseas which I don’t have available in store. Last year, a hospital in Papua New Guinea urgently needed an infant incubator. I thought of letting the PNG hospital know, that we didn’t have one to give, until Lydia showed up with one packed nicely in her van.” In her most recent trip to Auckland, tucked amongst twenty pairs of old crutches and boxes of medical supplies, Lydia and her husband had squeezed in an old Steriliser machine that had been passed on from one of the Whakatāne health centres and hadn’t been used for some time. Mary says she’d been searching for a Steriliser for two months, and there it was, “It was like a prayer answered.” Through MAA and people across the country like Lydia, much needed medical supplies are provided to more than thirty developing countries across the South Pacifi c region as well as Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Lydia hopes to one day follow a package of medical supplies to one of the developing countries to see how they’re being put to good use. Lydia and Les Snell with their van packed with medical supplies bound for developing countries. Better information gets hip and knee patients back on their feet faster Better information for Bay of Plenty patients about what to expect before, during and after total hip or knee replacements is helping them get back on their feet faster. As part of a national programme designed to improve care for people having these operations, the BOPDHB has been providing weekly education classes at both hospitals. At the sessions, well in advance of surgery, patients learn what to expect and what they can do to aid their recovery after surgery. They’re also provided with an information handbook covering every aspect of the process. Including post- surgery exercise, the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of how to sit and move and who to call for support once they’re discharged from hospital. Charles Peni working on building strength at Tauranga Hospital’s Physio Department after his knee replacement early this year. Charles had his operation in Whakatāne Hospital in March. After three nights in hospital he was able to go home. Since the BOPDHB has increased the level of information and education available for total hip and knee replacement patients, the average time those patients have had to stay in hospital has dropped from 4 to 3 days. It’s also below the national average. Service Improvement Programme Manager Wendy Carey says, “Making sure patients are well informed before their surgery is really important. It helps them prepare, both physically and mentally and recover quicker which helps to reduce the risk of complications. Maketu man Charles Peni, who had a knee replacement early this year, credits the inform- ation with getting him back on his feet faster. “Knowing what to do and what not to do post-surgery is really important for the patient’s recovery.” “I knew the operation was going to be a major. And I know plenty of people who’ve had knee replacements and who’ve had a slow recovery. Having education sessions and all the information at my fi ngertips well before my operation meant I was well prepared. I think those sessions should be compulsory.” A survey of patients who’d had hip or knee replacements this year at both Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals shows having an information handbook covering every step of the process was a huge help. 91% of those surveyed rated the handbook as highly valuable and 98% said they felt well prepared for their surgery and discharge from hospital having read the book. Charles Peni is well on the recovery path. He was playing competitive tennis prior to surgery and he’s adamant, he’ll be back on the court this season. “I’m following the advice and now having physiotherapy on my knee at Tauranga Hospital. Where I live I could go to either hospital. I had my op in Whakatāne Hospital but a physio appointment came up in Tauranga, so I opted for that. It really makes no diff erence to me the staff have been great at both hospitals.” Charles says his knee’s getting better every day. He’s even managed a short jog to the odd lamppost. “I’ve always b ٕ)͕иMȁѕ́Ո)ɔѡȀ́ѥɽ$)Ѽѡͅt)eԁɕѡ䁙ݥѡ)ܸ)輽ܹй轡Ѡ٥)ѽхɕм