Change can be challenging, and I think you would all agree the last couple of years have certainly been a challenge for all of us. Some people respond well to challenges and take them in their stride, being flexible and rolling with the punches. Others however find challenges difficult and take time to adjust and accept change.
Like us, our health services have met many challenges in the last couple of years and continue to do so as Omicron circulates in our communities. Being a critical service, they have had to think of ways to provide quality health care while keeping their patients and themselves safe at the same time.
Luckily when we are faced with a challenge it also presents an opportunity for innovative thinking and smarter ways of working.
You may have noticed some changes at Ruapehu Health in the way they operate now compared to in the past. You will also be well aware of the struggle Ruapehu Health has had concerning staff shortages, which is common for a rural general practice, and this has led to thinking outside the square to provide patients with accessible and timely quality health care. Ruapehu Health is experienced in managing its services to provide the best possible care for its community.
Having accessible health care has a different meaning than what we used to think of it as. Kānohi ki te kānohi (face to face) consults have always been our preferred option, however in ‘Covid times’ it is not realistic or safe for this to happen in most circumstances. Ruapehu Health has a GP on the team who can provide consultations via Zoom, while the nurse carries out any physical assessments. “I had a wonderful consultation with the virtual doctor, certainly different from anything I have experienced. I felt at ease because I had the support of Morgan the RHL nurse with me. The doctor was very professional, I felt listened to and I understood what medication he was proposing to give me and why. While I prefer to see a doctor face to face, I would have no hesitation in seeing a virtual doctor again. I also feel very confident with the professionalism of our nurses at the practice,” says a patient after a recent consultation.
The four practice nurses also offer clinics, so if you are considering an online consult with the GP, have a discussion with the nursing team first to see which option is best for you. They have a good knowledge of primary care and can guide you to make the best decision to meet your health needs.
A Nurse Practitioner is also available at the practice two days a week. With additional nursing qualifications and a broader ability, the nurse practitioner can assess, diagnose, interpret medical tests, prescribe medications, complete medicals, and collaborate in the care of patients.
The Health Improvement Practitioner (HIP) is an important part of the team. HIPs are registered health professionals who provide brief interventions to support the wellbeing of patients and whānau, whether their needs are physical, emotional or social. They will help you come up with a plan based on what matters most to you.
Working alongside the HIP is a Health Coach. The Health Coach can provide support to whānau who are experiencing challenges in managing their health and wellbeing. This may be through building health literacy, supporting patients to talk with and understand their medical team, and/or acting as a support person/advocate in the appointment, and helping patients to connect with other services.
The practice is currently operating Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm. “Ruapehu Health will be providing after-hours services soon, so watch this space,” says Clinical Practice Lead, Tracy Mitchell.
For further comment please contact WRHN Communications & Technology Coordinator, Karen Veldhoen on (06) 348 0109 extn 708