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Some rest home residents moving out of Christchurch

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health
24 February 2011

Some rest home residents moving out of Chch

Health workers are helping to move some of Christchurch's most vulnerable residents to safer accommodation, and Health Minister Tony Ryall says "In some cases that means moving out of the region.

"More than two hundred rest home residents need new accommodation as their existing rest homes are uninhabitable. Many are being taken home by family members, and others are being moved by the Air Force to facilities around the South Island.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health completed a stock take of vacant aged care bed capacity around the country. There are a number of Christchurch residents who need rest home hospital level care and work is underway to make sure these older people can be suitably looked after.

Around 20 properties which are home to people with disabilities are uninhabitable, and the residents are moving. Needs assessment coordinators are managing this with disability services providers around the country.

Canterbury DHB, St John and others have staff at the welfare centres providing support for people with stress or anxiety issues. HealthLine now has mental health nurses available to provide counselling and mental health support.

The Canterbury GP helpline operated by HML took 2500 calls yesterday.

An information campaign is about to begin encouraging people to support each other and how they can look after themselves with messages about boiling water, hand washing, and other hygiene considerations.

Residents with urgent medical needs can visit a GP free of charge until tomorrow night, and the DHB is waiving the $3 fee on prescriptions until Sunday.

People moving out of their home or leaving Christchurch are being reminded to take their regular medication with them.

Mr Ryall asked that people carefully heed public health messages over the next days and weeks including:

• Boil water for one minute before drinking, brushing teeth or washing/preparing food.
• Use as little water as possible to flush your toilet if you have water.
• Remember hand washing stops diseases spreading.
• Look after each other - keep in touch with families, friends and neighbours and support each other.
• Avoid contact with sewage. Don't gather fish or shellfish in the sea or from Canterbury rivers.
If you are unwell with a minor injury or illness and need medical assistance call your General Practice or nearest after hours surgery. Please keep the Emergency Department for emergencies only. If you need an ambulance dial 111.

ENDS

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