Otago Polytechnic
More Moeraki Boulders Allan Henderson CC BY 3.0 11 Dec 2015

Access to health services

Nursing students suggest how a rural community could improve its access to health services.

An investigation of health and wellbeing in the coastal Otago townships of Hampden and Moeraki identified that 36% of the population of 400 were over the age of 65, and the median age was 60. This community has no locally based health service provision, and the isolation makes it difficult to access health services. Internet coverage and access was low, but there was a local community newspaper, called the Hamraki Rag.

This investigation was conducted by a group of six Nursing students under the supervision of Raeleen Thompson. As well as accessing data about the communities, they visited the townships and spoke with key people to gain an understanding of local issues. They discovered that many health services were available on referral, either locally or by travelling to another centre.

To improve access to health services, the students recommended that a Health Information Day be held, at the marae or Hampden Hall. Health service providers would be invited to present information about the services available and how to access them. Community member, Mrs Margaret Cruickshank, has indicated women’s service groups could help with transport for those who would like to attend but who did not have access to transport, and group members would be willing to provide catering. The event could be promoted in the community newspaper, with an invitation on a pull-out sheet with a list of health service contacts that could be kept by residents to refer to later. The community intends to go ahead with this proposed Health Information Day.

Image credit: Allan Henderson, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0 

June 2018