Whanganui DHB Monday 13 August 2012, 3:59PM
Media release from Whanganui DHB
Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) residents with intellectual
disabilities have a new tool at their disposal - a nationally
designed Health Passport designed to help nursing and medical staff
understand their care and support needs.
WDHB public health, community & rural nurse manager Lucy
Dunlop believes the purple and white passport can make a
significant difference to people who sometimes find it difficult to
remember, or relay, their personal and medical information to
"When any one of us is sick or attending appointments, it's always
easy to forget the detail required by clinicians and this can
become particularly difficult for those with intellectual
disabilities," Mrs Dunlop says.
"The passport could change that. With the help of their family
members or carers, the owner will complete the various sections
within the distinctive purple A4 passport and bring it to
The passport was developed following the hospital death of a
young, disabled woman who had experienced many difficulties when
admitted to an undisclosed New Zealand hospital that was unable to
meet the needs specific to her disability.
Convinced that her daughter may not have died had a document like
the Health Passport been available to hospital staff, the woman's
mother has pushed hard for hospitals nationwide to make them
available to prevent similar tragedies happening again.
The original Health Passport document was prepared by the
Wandsworth Community Learning Disability Team (WCLDT) in London
then modified by New Zealand's Office of the Health and Disability
Commissioner (HDC) in partnership with other agencies.
"There was an enthusiastic response from community agency staff
working with people with disabilities when a meeting was held at
Wanganui Hospital last month," Mrs Dunlop says.
The WDHB's next step is to introduce the Health Passport next
week, at a staff meeting to be attended by Elizabeth Finn from the
Health and Disability Commission.