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Health Home Visiting Service

Home delivery of health information will be the reality for many Tokoroa families when they take part in a Ministry of Health home visiting service pilot project this year.

Dr David Lambie, deputy Director-General Personal and Family Health Services, today outlined the pilot project which is expected to be up and running after locals and others have had the opportunity to take part in community consultation about the shape of the service

"The home visiting service involves community workers visiting households to provide information, health education, community support and help to access other local services," Dr Lambie said.

"We believe taking health information services into the home is the best way to link many people to services, and to deliver health education in areas such as parenting skills, child development, teenage health or alcohol and drug-related issues."

"If, for example, someone has diabetes the community worker will give them information on the disorder, tell them about the relevant services and help them access those services" .

Preliminary plans for the service are detailed in Home Visiting Service Pilot Project: Improving the health and wellbeing of your local community. Community consultation is under way till May 11 and Dr Lambie urged anyone with an interest to take part in one of the local meetings or to make a written submission.

The home visiting service builds on the Government's commitment to make a real contribution to reducing inequalities between the health status of Maori and Pacific peoples and other New Zealanders, he said.

"We hope it will overcome some of the barriers such as language and transport difficulties or just plain lack of information which at present stop some people getting what they need."

Tokoroa was chosen as the pilot site after a review of factors such as community ethnicity, household income, unemployment, age groupings, household support, lack of access to telephones and private transport. Consideration was also given to it being a rural site having significant Maori and Pacific populations.

Copies of the document are available from the Ministry of Health, its website or from the Tokoroa Library. Members of the public can also discuss the document at any of the meetings scheduled in Tokoroa this month.

All the meetings will be at the Tokoroa Hospital Library, Maraetai Road, Tokoroa. Hui: 23 April 2001 (Monday) 2.00-3.30pm Workshop: 23 April 2001 (Monday) 7.00-9.00pm Fono: 24 April 2001 (Tuesday) 10.00-11.30am


For more information contact: Hayley Brock Media Advisor Ministry of Health Tel: 496 2115

Questions and Answers about the home visiting service

When was the home visiting service devised? Development of the concept began when the Ministry of Health was given approval to begin work in October 2000. The Tokoroa pilot has been developed by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Waikato District Health Board.

When is it expected to start? The Ministry hopes to have the service available within three months of the close of submissions.

How do the community workers decide which families to visit? There is no formal referral process. The pilot service is voluntary which means it is up to individual members of the community to decide if they want to use the services on offer. The provider will make every effort to offer the service to those most in need. As well as home visiting there will be community education sessions run on a broad range of health promotion, social and educational topics.

How much does it cost users? It's a free service for those most in need.

What other home based visiting strategies have been used in New Zealand? Parents as First Teachers, Early Start, Family Start and First Years of Life - these four services see a mix of home visitors making house calls to families with young children. The Tokoroa home visiting service will benefit all age groups.

Who are the community workers? The paid community workers will come from a variety of backgrounds. They could be nurses, social workers, parents or other people in the community who have gone through the training required. They will have a range of skills and experience but will be employed mostly for their ability to develop effective relationships.

The Ministry of Health is currently investigating a range of courses that could be developed to meet the training needs of community workers.

Hayley Brock Media Advisor Communications Corporate & Information Directorate Ministry of Health DDI: 04 496 2115 Fax: 04 496 2010

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