Community Health

Our professional community health team will provide a high standard of patient care and education to empower you and your whanau to achieve wellness within our community.

WDHB's Community Health Services are provided from:


Whanganui Hospital | Ph 06 348 1282 | email:
Monday to Friday, 8am-4.30pm | District Nursing service 8am - 4.30pm



Nurse-led clinics for mobile patients are provided twice a week in the community health offices at Whanganui Hospital and in the Outpatients Department, as required.

WDHB’s Community Health Service focuses on supporting patients to safely remain in their homes while experiencing health challenges.

Community Health staff include:

  • District nurses
  • Specialist nurses
  • Social workers
  • Dieticians
  • Administrative support.

District nurses

WDHB district nurses provide a comprehensive, primarily home-based range of quality, patient-focused, professional and holistic nursing services. Our nurses address healthcare needs which can’t be met by a general medical or nursing service alone. The District Nurse Service is for those patients who could be at risk of further health deterioration without advanced nursing care and for those in which providing care in their normal living environment would not further compromise their health status.

District nurses have specialised nursing knowledge, assessment skills, professional judgement and an excellent knowledge of community resources. They collaborate with other health professionals and work in partnership with people, throughout their care, in their own home, community or hospital setting. District nurses function independently and interdependently in assessing needs, planning, delivering and evaluating care.

Clinical nurse specialists

WDHB’s clinical nurse specialists are essential members of the health team. They carry a caseload of patients requiring complex care while providing advice and support to other WDHB staff on all aspects of care from assessment to treatment, and management of outcomes.

Specialities include:

  • Oncology – includes providing care before, during and after cancer treatment; consultation with other healthcare providers; assessment, evaluation and planning of treatment; monitoring of patients; and linking in supportive care.
  • Stomal therapy – includes providing inpatient and community care to support and educate people living with a stoma (e.g. colostomy, illeostomy, urostomy), and the provision of stomal supplies.
  • Continence – includes providing assessment and treatment for continence patients, as well as consultation and services in collaboration with other healthcare professionals across the WDHB continuum.
  • Cardiac – includes providing support and education to cardiac patients throughout the community through cardiac rehabilitation, case management, pathway development, and liaison with services in secondary and primary care.
  • Wound care – includes assessment, evaluation, planning of treatment and monitoring of complex and chronic wounds as well as consultation with other healthcare providers.
  • Respiratory – includes assessment, management and education for patients with respiratory conditions; assisting people living with long-term respiratory conditions to develop skills for self-care thereby improving quality of life; and providing consultation services to medical and nursing colleagues.
  • Diabetes – includes diabetes management and education for people living with Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes (services are provided for inpatients, outpatients, in the community, at GP surgeries and rural clinics).
  • Hospital in the Home – involves providing hospital-level care to people in their own homes.

Clinical nurse specialists are required to research, evaluate, develop and implement standards of nursing practice, as well as lead the development of pathways, protocols and guidelines in specific area of practice.

Hospital in the Home

Whanganui District Health Board residents who require hospitalisation have the option to receive hospital-level care at home. Hospital in the Home (HITH) is a free service which delivers specialist-level treatment to patients outside the hospital environment.

Under the HITH programme, patients retain a degree of independence, remaining in the comfort and privacy of their own homes while remaining under the direct care of a specialist consultant. The core of the service is provided by district nurses, although medical specialist practitioners, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers are all part of the HITH team.

People suffering from an acute illness or an acute episode of chronic illness that requires specialist-level medical and nursing care are eligible for this service. Patients are assessed by medical and nursing staff for their suitability to receive this service. However, not all patients are suitable candidates for HITH and those deemed not to be will remain in hospital.

Hospital in the Home patients have immediate access back into the hospital should their condition deteriorate or they experience any difficulties.

Referral is by GP, hospital or another health professional.