Appointment attendance rates increase with the new service
Maori attendance rates for specialist follow-up appointments have improved since the introduction of a new wrap-around service.
A pilot for the Kaitiaki service initiative began in October 2020 at Nelson Hospital, when no-show rates for specialist appointments (DNA) were 9.3%. Data from July 2021 showed DNA levels dropped significantly to 5.8%.
Nelson Marlborough Health’s service for Maori calls whÄnau a week before their appointment to remind them, while also offering transportation to and from Nelson Hospital and support throughout the clinical session.
It is expected that the service will be extended to Wairau Hospital in Blenheim next year.
Nelson Marlborough Health, general manager of Maori health and vulnerable populations, Ditre Tamatea, said it was time for the health sector to take responsibility for attendance rates and change “did not attend” to “did not attract”.
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He said Maori have higher DNA levels than the rest of the population [due to] distrust of dominant entities, dealing with multiple issues and leading more complex lives.
âThey’re more likely to prioritize other things like, ‘Do I have a roof over my head’. Do I have food on the table, ‘that sort of thing.
The service initially targeted three areas with high attendance rates, including cardiology, oncology and pediatrics, but has since introduced orthopedics and patients with ear, nose and throat pain to the program.
Tamatea said the idea was “to reduce inequalities, to really go further”.
âWe don’t just send a text saying you have an appointment, we will call you to let you know you have an appointment. “
Kaitiaki Service Navigator Stevie Robb helps bridge the gap for Maori by providing callback, transportation, support and advocacy.
She said she had received “many thanks” from the patients and that they were “really grateful” for the service.
“When I make a phone call, I want to make their day with that phone call, and make their day as positive for them as possible and get them on the date if possible too.”
Te Waka Hauora MÄori Health Poukorowai (Team Leader) Tui Lister said the service extended to pastoral and cultural support and made sure all aspects of appointment scheduling were respected.
She said in one case a solo caregiver was unable to make her appointment as it collided with pickup at school, so Robb arranged a meeting time that was convenient for him.
In another case, a cardiology patient worried about ongoing appointments after getting a full-time job, Lister said.
âWe got together with Telehealth, cardiologist, specialist, his employer, and it was a transversal partnership. From there was born a weekly plan. He always goes to work, he has no worries about his financial situation.
“He could have been real DNA, but beyond that his health could have deteriorated.”
He would have put a full-time job ahead of his health, she said.
The Kaitiaki service is temporary and aims to link patients to a primary health service or social service for long-term needs, Lister said.