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New tool leads to a swifter recovery at Waikato

New tool leads to a swifter recovery at Waikato Hospital

Many patients suffering from stroke, head injury and other neurological and medical conditions now leave Waikato Hospital sooner thanks to an innovative new development.

The Northwick Park Dependency Score (NPDS), which enables the health care team to better plan patient discharges, has earned Waikato District Health Board a finalist placing in the 2008 New Zealand Health Innovation Awards (HIA). Two more of 19 finalists are also from the Waikato.

Waikato Hospital’s Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation Operations Manager Matt Watson believes the new tool has made it easier to determine patient care requirements. “Everyday tasks such as using the toilet and getting dressed are graded for each patient according to difficulty, frequency and the amount of nursing assistance required. This information is then used develop an individual rehabilitation plan.”

The tool also provides a safe and structured environment in which all rehabilitation staff, doctors, nurses and allied health workers can meet weekly to measure a patient’s progress and the effectiveness of their treatment .

“Patients are helped to recover much faster because we can be more focused on their particular needs and better communicate these needs to their family/whānau and caregivers. Communication between families and nursing staff is now more specific around patient needs, their progress and requirements to ensure a safe and effective discharge. ”

NPDS was developed in Northwick Park Hospital, London, and has been adapted specifically for use at Waikato Hospital.

The HIA are a joint endeavour of the Ministry of Health and ACC. They were started in 2003 to recognise individuals and organisations that have developed new and innovative approaches to delivering better health services.

Further information about the HIA is available online at

This year’s HIA winners will be announced at the expo and gala dinner held on 4 November at the Wellington Town Hall.


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