South Taranaki patients recovering from conditions affecting their mobility will soon have a purpose-built area at Hāwera Hospital to prepare for returning home.

A donation from the Isobel Bremer Medical Trust will fund a specialised mini-kitchen to be built at Hāwera Hospital.

The kitchen will enable occupational therapists (OTs) to assess patients' in-home abilities, and patients to build their confidence before they return home.

The Isobel Bremer Medical Trust was set up to support the Hāwera Hospital to purchase non-medical equipment for the wellbeing of patients.


"All our rehabilitation patients will benefit hugely from this," Miranda Cullen, lead occupational therapist at Hāwera Hospital says.

"We have patients who've had a stroke who have a minimal to significant disability, elderly people who have had a fracture or other injury after a fall, and some people with early dementia or Parkinsons.

"This area is creating an environment that is as near as possible to home, so we can check patients' abilities at undertaking day-to-day activities, and gauge what aids they may need at home."

The mini-kitchen, to cost about $8000 including plumbing and electrics, will include what you would find in a kitchen at home, including a jug, microwave, sink, bench top and cupboards. It will allow the OTs to assess if the patient can safely boil a jug and pour into a cup, use the sink and prepare a small meal.

While the hospital has a kitchen they have been using, it is not fit for purpose. Staff kitchens are also unable to be used because of health and safety concerns as they can be very busy areas.

The new kitchen will also be able to be used by families of palliative patients who stay over at the hospital, Miranda says.

A roller door can be pulled down on the mini-kitchen when it is not in use.

Hāwera Hospital clinical manager Cathy Thomson said the kitchen was expected to be installed and operational early next year.


"We're excited because this is something that will really benefit our patients," she said.

The Taranaki Health Foundation fundraises on behalf of the community to deliver new technology and services over and above Government funding.