A collaboration between Pegasus Health Partnership Community Workers (PCWs) and the Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department (ED) has helped hundreds of people over the past five years to access primary care services and other health-related support.
Patients presenting at ED with nonurgent conditions who are not enrolled with a GP are referred by hospital staff to the PCW team. PCWs contact patients to gain an understanding of their health needs.
FROM A PCW’S PERSPECTIVE – EMMA PEEK
“I’m really proud of the relationship we have built with ED staff. Hospital social workers are crucial to providing people care in a crisis, but once patients leave ED they can get lost in the system, with their health and wellbeing suffering,” says Emma.
“That’s where we come in. For every referral, we make contact and meet the patient to understand their health needs and how we can help.
Often, the first step is to get them enrolled with a GP. Where cost of the enrolment appointment is an issue, we can help to organise subsidies for the appointment and can also accompany them to any appointments.
One person I was privileged to help was a 60-year-old who lost his job because of his diabetes. When we first spoke, he said he was depressed. He hadn’t been to the doctor for more than a year because of cost, so his GP didn’t know about his decline in mental health.
He didn’t want anti-depressants or counselling and was reluctant to see a GP but agreed on the proviso I took him and used a health voucher.
At the appointment, he agreed to try anti-depressants. We also arranged a food parcel for him and budgeting advice.
At his second GP appointment his mood had improved, with an equal mix of good and bad days compared with only one in ten previously. He agreed to start insulin treatment after being told about free chemists and at a follow-up meeting, he said he felt he could manage his health with an improved mood.”
Cover image: Partnership Community Worker, Emma Peek is proud of the relationship that’s been built with Emergency Department staff.
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