Specialist services for older people
Whanganui Hospital, 100 Heads Road, Whanganui
Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm

The Specialist Services for Older People Service provides multidisciplinary community teams which, depending on the person’s identified needs, can include:
  • a geriatrician
  • a psychogeriatrician
  • registered nurses
  • an occupational therapist
  • physiotherapists
  • social workers
  • a speech language therapist
  • a clinical psychologist.

The Specialist Services for Older People (SHOP) teams work within Whanganui Hospital, as well as community and rural areas, to develop patient-focused and goal-based treatment programmes.

These programmes are tailored to individual patients’ specific needs to promote independence and quality of life.

SHOP teams also specialise in working with older people who have behavioural and psychological symptoms associated with dementia, delirium, depression and anxiety disorders.

Although the majority of people in New Zealand with dementia are aged 65 years or over, around seven percent of people with early onset dementia are under this age.

Specialist services for older people (SHOP) services are for people, 65 years and over, who have high and complex physical needs and/or cognitive or mental health conditions and who will benefit from multidisciplinary assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.

We recommend that the first person you liaise with is your doctor, who can then make a referral.

However, please note, referrals can also be made by yourself, your family/whanau or carer, or by other appropriate healthcare professionals, primary services or community agencies. When a referral for older people specialist services is received, the multidisciplinary team considers the referral and decides which component of the service is best for you.

Accessing specialist WDHB services

Alcohol and Other Drug Service | 06 348 1287 or 06 348 3077
This service provides alcohol and other drug assessment and intervention services. Patients may be referred to other appropriate agencies if necessary, e.g. for medical detoxification or rehabilitation, if required.

Assessment, Treatment and Rehabiliation (ATR) in-patient unit
Whanganui Hospital, 100 Heads Road, Whanganui | 06 348 1234 ext. 7291
Based on the first floor of Whanganui Hospital the 12-bed ATR in-patient unit has 24-hour registered nurse and medical cover, as well as a multi-disciplinary team, who work Monday to Friday.

The unit has a gym, independent unit and ceiling hoists, all of which assist in promoting independence for our patients. Work is also underway to develop an outside garden area (the Marie Jarden Memorial Garden) which will provide patients in the ATR ward with further rehabilitation options such as gardening, or relaxing in this specially designed area. The garden is expected to be opened before the end of 2012.
The ATR team work hard to develop patient-focused, goal-based treatment programmes to suit individual patient needs to promote independence and quality of life.

Mental Health Assessment and Home Treatment (MHAHT)
24 hours a day, seven days a week | 0800 653 358
This is an urgent response service for people requiring urgent attention due to experiencing acute mental health crises. Some service users in crisis may be treated at home under the home treatment service.

Multi-disciplinary team
The multi-disciplinary team is a group of healthcare professionals from various disciplines, who come together to provide tailored, comprehensive assessments and intervention for older people and their families/whanau/carers.

Whereas the composition of the multi-disciplinary team varies depending on a person’s specific healthcare needs, the core team includes doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, social workers, speech and language therapists, and psychologists.

The team, which attends Whanganui Hospital’s wards and provides community and rural visits, is able to draw on the expertise of a wide range of other healthcare professionals as necessary.

Rapid Response Team (RRT) | Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm | 06 3481234
The RRT consists of a social worker, an occupational therapist and a registered nurse, and provides urgent response in Whanganui.

The role of core multi-disciplinary team members

Geriatrician – a doctor who specialises in the care of older people. Geriatricians are experts in dealing with assessment, rehabilitation and treatment in relation to the multiple medical problems that can affect older people.

Psycho-geriatrician – a doctor who specialises in caring for older people who have behavioural and emotional disorders. Psychiatry is the study of mental health conditions and their diagnosis, management and prevention.

Registered Nurse – a nurse who specialises in providing healthcare for older people. Registered nurses work with older people to promote health, well-being and self-management in older people by working with them to address any physical, cultural, psychological and family issues. Nurses also develop and implement treatment plans for older people and help them with chronic illness and disease.

Psychologist – a doctor who specialises in the study of human behaviour and mental processes and is concerned with the thoughts, feelings and motivations that underline human action. Psychologists assess patient needs by undertaking psychological therapies with individuals and groups.

Occupational Therapy Department

Whanganui Hospital, First Floor, 100 Heads Road, Whanganui
Monday to Friday, 8am – 4.30pm | Ph. 06 348 1234 extn 7286

Occupational therapists work with older people and their families/whanau to maximise their ability to perform everyday living tasks that are important to them, but which may be compromised by physical or mental health issues.

The goal of occupational therapy is to provide safe, ethical and legal practice in a culturally safe manner.
The occupational therapy team includes hospital and community-based staff. It is a multi-national team working within the New Zealand Occupational Therapy Board competence framework.

Outpatient clinics
These provide assessment, intervention and treatment (initial and reviews) and evaluation for older people living with health issues and disabilities, such as those relating to diabetes, respiratory, memory and stroke.

The clinics may be provided by an individual clinician or using a multi-disciplinary team approach. They can be held at the Whanganui Hospital campus or at the WDHB’s rural health centres.

Physiotherapy Department

Whanganui Hospital, First Floor, 100 Heads Road, Whanganui
Monday to Friday 8am – 4.30pm; limited weekend service | Ph. 06 348 1234 extn 7286

The physiotherapy team’s overall goal is to maximise and promote the physical function, mobility, health, independence and rehabilitation of older people to help them reach their maximum potential for activity.

Consisting of hospital and community-based therapists, the team assesses, diagnoses, treats, reports and gives advice based on the knowledge, skill and competencies its members have attained through registration with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand.

Social Work Department

Whanganui Hospital, Ground Floor Lambie, 100 Heads Road, Whanganui
Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm | 06 348 1234 extn 7258

Social work is concerned with people’s interaction with their social environment. It focuses on promoting independence and empowering people to make their own informed decisions.

The social work team assists older people through emotional and/or physical changes which they may face as a result of illness or disability. This may include:

  • assessment
  • coordination of services
  • discharge planning
  • community liaison and referral
  • patient advocacy and family support
  • education
  • supportive counselling
  • facilitating communication between hospital ward staff and patients and their families/whanau.
Throughout this process people are encouraged to take personal responsibility for their own health in a supportive environment.

Social workers provide services for inpatient, mental health, rural and community areas.

Speech and Language Therapy

Whanganui Hospital, First Floor, 100 Heads Road, Whanganui
Monday to Friday 8am – 4.30pm | 06 348 1234 extn 7286

The Speech and Language Therapy team specialises in working with older people to address a variety of speech and language disorders including aphasia (language problems),apraxia (motor speech), dysarthria (speech), dysphonia (voice) and dysphagia (swallowing).

The team’s overall aim is to maximise communication potential and to promote management of swallowing difficulties for older people through assessment, diagnoses, treatments, reports and advice. It provides services to in-patients, out-patients and community patients.

WDHB rural health centres

Rangitikei Health Centre, 7 Blackwell Street, Marton | 06 327 7222
Waimarino Health Centre, 22 Seddon Street, Raetihi | (06) 385 5019

These centres are open to meet the needs of the local community through their provision of services and qualified healthcare professionals, as follows:

  • district nursing
  • mental health nurses
  • social worker
  • cultural advisor
  • physiotherapy
  • other visiting specialists.