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New patient safety initiative at Waitemata DHB

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

That’s the message behind a newly-launched Waitemata DHB initiative designed to help make sure patients know how to use their medication safely.

Easy-to read information cards are now being used in the Waitakere and North Shore hospitals, encouraging patients to ask more questions if they are feeling confused or uncertain about what they’ve been prescribed.

"Many of our patients tell us that they don’t want to bother staff because they are busy," Waitemata DHB’s Institute for Innovation and Improvement Lead Advisor Dr Jerome Ng says.

"So we want to encourage all of our patients to ask questions and speak up if they have any concerns."

Staff from DHB departments, such as pharmacy, community engagement and patient experience, worked with consumers and community advocacy groups Waitakere Health Links and Health Link North to co-design the cards.

The DHB’s Asian Health Services division was also heavily involved and translated versions into Chinese and Korean.

Asian Health Services division operations manager Grace Ryu says around 136,550 Asian people live within the Waitemata DHB catchment and some do not speak English. Many have a basic grasp on the language but struggle once the conversation turns to the health sector.

Grace says the information cards will be useful prompts for both groups and their families.

"In Asian culture, it is often considered disrespectful to question professional people, including doctors, and those who are in positions of authority.

"These cards make it very clear that the opposite is true here in New Zealand. We want all of our patients to be safe and to feel confident about what we are prescribing. If in doubt, ask."

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