Recipe for care success

20:36, Nov 21 2012
PATIENT FOCUSED: Beach Haven Hospital Tui Psychogeriatric Unit clinical manager Chris Beckett, left, unit co-ordinator Sharon Hansen and health and safety officer Marie Hume, right, with their award-winning poster: Melting Moments.

The team at Beach Haven Hospital believes it has the perfect recipe for "person-centred" care.

Beach Haven Hospital Tui Psychogeriatric Unit is a 32-bed home for older dementia patients whom other facilities struggle to cater for.

The home is following a care plan focused on individual patients' needs rather than adhering to the strict and sterile methods seen in traditional psychogeriatric facilities.

The plan is at the centre of the hospital's winning entry into the Waitemata Health Excellence Awards People's Choice poster competition announced last night.

This section of the competition was sponsored by the North Shore Times.

Waitemata's competition is aimed at celebrating the improvements of primary health care providers covered by the Waitemata District Health Board.


Beach Haven Hospital clinical manager Chris Beckett, facility manager Jean Colbeck and health and safety officer Marie Hume designed the winning poster: Melting Moments, which gained the most votes out of 36 entries.

Ms Beckett says the recipe-style poster is meant to illustrate the compassion of Beach Haven Hospital staff and the evolution of aged care.

"In the past, care of dementia patients has focused on the medical problems and the clinical roles of staff. We have reversed that and the patients' needs go straight to the top," Ms Beckett says.

Residents of the Tui unit are at the extreme end of the dementia spectrum, Ms Hume says.

It can cause them to lose the ability of recognising what is the right and the wrong way of doing things, she says.

"They become so frustrated when they are expected to behave normally and that's when they can become aggressive. Our staff accept their behaviours. There is no normal here."

Tui unit co-ordinator Sharon Hansen says all 32 patients came to her heavily sedated on anti-psychotic medication but by following the new care plan only four of them remain on anti-psychotic drugs. Caring for dementia patients at home can be such a burden that the health of the carer can be seriously jeopardised, Ms Beckett says.

"These are people who vowed ‘in sickness and in health' and ‘til death do us part' so they carry bucket loads of guilt when they bring their loved one to us.

"But it is important to know they are bringing them to a home, not an institution."

North Shore Times