Last month, I was fortunate to be introduced to Winnie, an extraordinary lady, who had recently celebrated her 100th birthday. While this is an incredible feat, it seems reaching the grand old age of 100 seems to be more common these days.
What impressed me most about Winnie was the love, care and devotion of Laura, her daughter and full-time carer. Hearing the personal sacrifices her daughter made was a humbling experience. Laura explained how she gave up her job when her mother required constant care. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of Laura’s doing this throughout New Zealand.
It was particularly gratifying to see the interaction between a carer and the professional support that enabled Winnie to have a reasonably high quality of life in her twilight years. Her daughter was able to take regular breaks and the equipment installed in the home enabled Winnie to move around safely. Her home had also been insulated, thanks to the work being done by Warm Up Counties.
This case illustrates how CM Health is working towards providing excellent and coordinated care across services. Our approach to linking up services was recently acknowledged in a report titled: Acute Hospital & Integrated Care. From Hospitals to Health Systems, by the internationally respected Kings Fund. This report recognised the sterling work we have done to reduce rheumatic fever among Maaori children.
The coming months and years will see Counties Manukau increasingly link community health and hospital services to deliver more coordinated and effective patient care.
In Winnie’s case, the support and care from her daughter, together with her CM Health support team helped one elderly lady stay at home, happy and contented. A lasting memory of my time with Winnie was just before I stood up to leave. She insisted that she danced with me, so took me gently by the hand and, with a twinkle in her eye, proceeded to dance with me around her small lounge, with an energy and determination that defied her years. And when she sat down she whispered into my ear, “I just kicked your butt young man!”
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