The systems established by the Central Hawke's Bay Health Centre's district nursing service to care for a terminally ill client were recognised at the recent International Nurses and Midwives Day Awards.
The service is made up of six registered nurses - Megan Peacock, Rose Wilder, Marilyn Duncan, Sally Mackie, Lynne Goddard and Karoline Clarke who were highly commended in the teamwork category of the awards, which recognise excellence across the province's health sector.
CHB Health Centre manager Sandy Ridley said what was learnt while treating the person over four months had changed the way palliative care was practised in the area.
The impact of the illness on the client and the family took an emotional toll on all six nurses, and the extended team, leading to the formation of a steering/advisory group featuring Hawke's Bay Fallen Soldiers' Memorial Hospital and Cranford Hospice staff across a range of disciplines, and monthly meetings for case discussion.
The nursing staff were the main health practitioners involved with the client on a daily basis and were supported by the greater team, Ms Ridley said.
"The nurses ably co-ordinated a team approach to meet their needs and in doing so brought their experience and knowledge to the table. This allowed all participants to see things through the eyes of the nurse."
As the client became more frail, communication between Cranford Hospice nursing staff and the district nurses resulted in an after-hours plan to support the family and client. The wider team supported the client and family, until the death of the client at home with the family around them.
"This met the wishes of the family and those of the client, and illustrated how health professionals can wrap services around both themselves and their clients in a community setting," Ms Ridley said.
The district nursing team now has a relationship with the nursing team at Cranford Hospice, with all Cranford community clients being referred to the service. This allows early relationships to develop between the client and the service before treatment is needed.
"As a result the level of nursing care delivery to palliative care clients in Central Hawke's Bay has been greatly enhanced," Ms Ridley said.
The team was praised for recognising the need for assistance, for finding a way to provide a 24 hour service to the family, for working alongside a large team of medical and palliative care staff using the nursing voice to meet the needs of the client and the needs of staff, and for providing a safe environment for the client and family that supported open, transparent communication.