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Capital & Coast DHB Older Adult Service

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What Health Services Are Provided For Older People?

Health of the Older Person is provided by a team of professionals including Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Dietitians and Social Workers who specialise in conditions that affect older people. As people age they are more likely to have one or more medical illnesses and to have other difficulties as a result of these illnesses. 

The Department

Geriatricians are specialist doctors who are trained in the conditions that commonly affect older people as well as how the aging body’s needs change with respect to all illnesses.
Physiotherapists are experts in movement and function.  They review what you need to assist with walking and provide equipment if needed as well as exercises aimed to improve movement, pain, weakness or balance.  They usually see you at home or in the gym depending on your needs.
Occupational Therapists are experts in function.  They look at what you do during the day and what might help to achieve things you are struggling with.  They usually see you in your home environment to look at how you manage.
Speech Therapists are experts in problems with speech and communication.  They are also experts in swallowing.
Dietitians are experts in nutrition and can give advice about diets to gain or lose weight as well as diets that help with certain illnesses.
Needs Assessors are experts in arranging support for you.  They organise funding for help in the home or going to a rest home.  They are able to advise you on what sort of help you may qualify for or benefit from.
Social Workers provide support for you and your family.  They are able to provide counselling to get through difficult times as well as advice about your rights as a patient.
Nurses in this team are specially trained in conditions affecting older people and may be involved in your follow up to provide practical advice at home and provide feedback to your specialist or GP.


Note: Please note below that some people are not available at all locations.

  • Dr Marie Liang Lung Chong

    Consultant Geriatrician

    Available at Kenepuru Community Hospital - Te Hohipera o Kenepuru

  • Dr Pedro Puertas Broggi

    Consultant Geriatrician

    Available at Kenepuru Community Hospital - Te Hohipera o Kenepuru

  • Dr Kate Scott

    Consultant Geriatrician

    Available at Kenepuru Community Hospital - Te Hohipera o Kenepuru

  • Dr Rupali Sharma

    Consultant Geriatrician

    Available at Wellington Hospital - Nga Puna Waiora

  • Dr Janet Turnbull

    Consultant Geriatrician

    Available at all locations.

Referral Expectations

Outpatient Services
Your GP will refer you to this service if they think you would benefit from seeing a team of people to assist with any difficulties related to illnesses affecting you in old age or if they feel you would benefit from a specialist doctor’s advice regarding your medical condition.

Geriatrician Clinics
The waiting times for clinic range from 1 week to 3 months depending on the urgency of the condition described in your GP’s referral letter. 

You will see either a Geriatrician or a Registrar (a doctor training to become a specialist) with supervision.  Before seeing the doctor, you may be seen by a nurse who will ask you some questions and take some recordings such as blood pressure and weight.  The average length of a clinic appointment is 1 hour with tests occurring afterwards often taking another 30 mins.  During the clinic appointment you will be asked about any symptoms you have as well as your past medical history.  Please bring all your medications with you.  It is very common in this clinic to be asked a series of questions to test your memory.  You will have a physical examination and are likely to have blood tests, an ECG (tracing of your heart) and a Chest X-Ray, depending on what problems you have.
Home Visits
Your GP may request a home visit by one of our doctors.  This occurs if you are unable to come into hospital or would be best assessed in your own home.  You will be phoned the day before and asked if it is OK for us to visit.  The waiting times for home visits are usually 1-4 weeks.
Other health professionals from the team may also visit you at home if you are unable to attend an outpatients appointment. Examples include physiotherapists to provide assessments to reduce the risk of falls, occupational therapists to assess you in your home environment to recommend modifications or different ways of doing things to increase your ability to do day to day tasks, a social worker to discuss ways of helping you stay at home, or support you in making your decisions known about end of life care, therapy assistants to help progress your rehabilitation. Dietitians may visit you to help ensure you are given the means to reduce the risk of malnutrition and speech therapists may visit if you are having problems with swallowing or communicating.
Assessment For Going Into A Rest Home or Private Hospital
Before going into a rest home or private hospital, government agencies require a specialist assessment to be completed.  This has two parts to it.  The first is an assessment by a specialist doctor or nurse to look at any health issues that could be affecting your ability to live independently.  It is often a good chance to have a general review of your medications.  At the assessment, your medical history will be reviewed and you will have a physical examination.  Depending on your circumstances you may see other members of the ORA team to look at what could be done to help keep you in your own home.  The second part of the assessment is done by the Needs Assessment Coordinators.  They look at what options you have with respect to home assistance and the financial implications of going into a rest home.  This assessment usually takes place after the clinic or home visit appointment.

Inpatient Services
You will be referred to hospital if your doctor thinks you would benefit from time in hospital to undergo assessment of your condition or for rehabilitation.  You may be referred from home by your GP or from another ward in the hospital if you need more time and therapy to regain strength to get home.

What To Expect
Although there are doctors involved with your care they may only see you once or twice a week if you are medically stable but can visit more often if needed.  They are always happy to talk with you or your family.  Your nurse can set up a time to suit.
The time you spend on the ward depends on the progress you make and whether or not you benefit from daily rehabilitation with the therapists.   The purpose of rehabilitation is to regain independence so you will be encouraged to do as much for yourself as possible as you recover.  Depending on your problems and abilities, you are encouraged to be as independent as possible during your time on the ward. 
Before going home you may have a home visit where the occupational therapist takes you home for about an hour to see how you manage with day to day things in your own home to assess what help or equipment might be needed. Before discharge you and your family may wish to have a meeting with staff if you want to discuss what has happened to you and what help you might need at home.

Procedures / Treatments

  • Memory Problems

    There are several types of memory problems people can have.   If you are referred because of memory concerns it is very helpful to bring along a family member.  It is also very important to bring all of your medications with you as these can often affect memory.  A full medical… More

  • Dementia

    This is a condition of gradual loss of memory and other functions of awareness or thinking such as concentration over time.  There are several types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, which is due to the same sort of illnesses that cause stroke.  More

  • Falls

    These are not a natural part of aging.  There are many reasons why people fall over and a review of your medical problems and medications may well reveal some reasons for falling that can be fixed.  If you have lots of falls, seeing a specialist as well as the physiotherapist… More

  • Strokes

    A stroke is where the blood supply to an area of the brain is interrupted causing damage to brain cells.  This happens either with a clot in the blood vessel or the blood vessel bursting.  The effects of a stroke depend on where in the brain, and how big, the… More

  • Urinary Incontinence

    Urinary incontinence or a loss of bladder control is the involuntary passage of urine.… More

  • Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens your bones. Osteoporosis is not painful but it makes your bones more prone to breaking (fracture).  Women are more likely than men to suffer from osteoporosis and as you get older you are more likely to have it.… More

Contact Details

Warrimoo Street, Paraparaumu, Wellington


More details…

This page was last updated at 2:55PM on November 4, 2019. This information is reviewed and edited by Capital & Coast DHB Older Adult Service.