Helping elderly people in the region avoid going into residential or hospital care before they need to by providing temporary care options is an initiative which has received high praise at the recent Hawke's Bay Health Awards.

The Southern Community Laboratories Excellence in Service Improvement Award went to the engAGE Intermediate Care Beds for Frail Older People project which is a collaboration of HBDHB, engAGE, District Nursing, Clinical Pharmacist Facilitators, Older Persons Mental Health, NASC HB, General Practice, Health Hawke's Bay, Home Based Support Services and Aged Residential Care.

Team leader of engAGE, Sarah Shanahan, said tailoring individual needs was key to achieving wellbeing goals for frail older people who wished to remain independent for as long as possible.

The service was rolled out across 13 local age-related residential care facilities in February 2016 and since then more than 2500 bed days had been utilised to June 2017.


"We were very surprised on the night but very pleased to get the recognition for this initiative.

"It's really rewarding for the staff. It really is a joint collaborative effort between the DHB's engAGE team and the clinical nurse specialists and the GPs and also the aged residential care sector. So it's good being able to work with our colleagues in different sectors like that and it's really rewarding knowing that we're supporting older people to remain independent at home for as long as possible."

She said it allowed elderly residents to regain their confidence before going back home, once better.

They hoped to continue providing this service in the future and work on "improving some of our processes so that we're providing the best care to the older people who use the service".

The demand for the service is set to grow as the population is ageing, she said, so their goal was to strive to continue to keep up with that increasing demand.

"We want to say a big thank you to our colleagues in aged residential care and to the GPs and practice nurses that we work with because it is such a collaborative effort and it is something that we couldn't do without the working relationship we have with them."