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"Wrap around" - Hospital admissions drop by 2/3

Media release
Public Health Association
Embargoed to 11:25am, Thursday 3 July 2008

Hospital admissions drop by two thirds among "wrap around" families

High risk families in Hawke's Bay who received a ground-breaking "wrap around" pilot service over 12 months had significantly improved health by the programme's end.

Hawke's Bay District Health Board child health programme co-ordinator Joan Plowman told the Public Health Association conference today that the intensive programme involved collaboration between the Hawke's Bay DHB, the Ministry of Social Development and Housing New Zealand.

"We worked with just six families, but between them there had been 14 hospital admissions in the year before the pilot began. During the pilot there were four," Joan Plowman told the delegates gathered at Waitangi.

Ms Plowman said that the families were all at high risk of health problems and had complex needs. Through the three lead agencies, almost 50 other organisations were involved in the programme. But she said it was all done inside current financial budgets.

Ms Plowman said that across the six families, almost all respiratory problems significantly improved, as did skin conditions.

"Housing New Zealand improved the families' living standards, reducing overcrowding, putting in ventilation, heating and insulation. The Ministry of Social Development provided intensive case management for each family and worked alongside them to set up ongoing personal development plans linked to goals of improved health and access to education, training and employment. One client was placed in full-time work, three clients assisted into training and some families became entitled to further health related assistance."

"The Hawke's Bay population, as a whole, has very poor health. We know that if nothing is done, families in need will continue to suffer disproportionately from health, housing and financial related illnesses. That is a burden on everyone.

"In their assessments at the end of the pilot, many family members spoke of future goals. That's huge, because many families live day to day, from crisis to crisis, with not a great deal in their future. I think we supported them with hope and even a sense of empowerment."

"Every family said they would recommend this programme and the success it found shows a collaborative wrap around service is an effective model. I believe other places in New Zealand could adapt this to suit their own needs."

Ms Plowman said during the current 12 months period, the three organisations will now work with 25 new families. "I would love this to become a permanent way of working," she said.

ENDS

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