When a card arrives the mail after having baby, it’s usually no surprise. But when Bannockburn local Kimberly Duncan opened another card of congratulations after having her son Lochie in November, she definitely wasn’t expecting one from her Cromwell general practice, Junction Health.
With so much focus on baby after birth, Junction Health decided that more needs to be done to look out for Mum too. After a pretty tough time towards the end of her pregnancy and after birth, the extra support was a welcome surprise for the new mum.
“It all starts with a card of congratulations and follow-up phone call to the new mum from the practice, where they are invited in for a free appointment with both a general practitioner and the practice nurse,” explains Junction Health Operations Manager, Jo Hamilton.
What makes this unlike most other post-natal health appointments, is that the focus is on maternal health.
During the half-hour appointment, everything from lactation to mental health, pelvic floor stability, green prescription, contraception, diet, playgroups and starting with Well Child/Tamariki Ora services is covered.
“We felt that there is a real need for this type of support, that isn’t normally offered to new mums - between the handover from midwives to Plunket” says Junction Practice Nurse and Co-owner, Angela Ryley.
For Kimberly, this support couldn’t have been more timely: “Alice [practice nurse] was really caring and listened to what was going on. They put me onto a lactation consultant who got in contact with me the next day and helped me out.”
This was right when Kimberly was transitioning between services. “My midwife had finished at that six-week mark, so after that I didn’t have any support. I wasn’t starting Plunket for another week, so it was good having them organise all that for me.”
Baby Lochie is thriving now, and Kim feels more connected to Junction Health than ever.
Angela Ryley explains that being part of the WellSouth Southern Health Care Home programme has been a driving force behind Junction’s innovation with services such as this.
There are 19 Health Care Home General Practices in the Southern region currently, with an additional 5 practices joining the programme this month.
As Stuart Barson, Southern Health Care Home lead explains: “Health Care Home practices are continuously working on improved patient care, provide better working environments for practice staff and promote sustainability. This is the future for general practice models of care.”