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Lakes DHB Older Persons Health & Rehabilitation

Public Service, Older People's Health


Lakes DHB Older Persons Health & Rehabilitation Service is provided through Inpatient Services, Outpatient Services and Allied Health support.

Inpatient Service

The Older Persons Health and Rehabilitation Service provides assessment, treatment and rehabilitation in an inpatient area of up to 21 beds at Rotorua Hospital.

We function as an interdisciplinary team, with service based physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social workers, speech language therapists, nurses and doctors.

Our aim is to work with patients in hospital to try to regain function that has been lost due to acute illness or accident, to get them to their best functional status and quality of life.

Older Person Outpatient Services

Patients are referred by their GP or other health professionals to either be seen in the Outpatient Department or in the community. Patients will be assessed by a doctor or nurse specialist.

We run clinics including:

  • Memory assessment to diagnose cognitive problems and dementia
  • Parkinson's multi-disciplinary team
  • Pre-operative assessment to aid patients and surgeons to get the best outcome from surgery
  • General medical assessments

Allied Health Services - Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Language Therapy

Once discharged from hospital, many patients will have ongoing rehabilitation as an outpatient. Patients can also be referred by their GP or health professional if they are needing input from the Allied Health Service. Outpatients may be booked to attend individual appointments or specific group classes.


Where to find us: See the Rotorua Hospital map here.

We also provide a visiting Older Persons Outpatient Service at Taupō Hospital.


Referral Expectations

Inpatient Services

You will be referred to rehabilitation 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.

We are really enthusiastic about you:
- bringing in your own clothes and getting dressed every day
- sitting out of bed during the day and resting back in bed only when necessary
- cooperating in working with the rest of the team to get you back to doing what you want
- having your meals in the dining room or with other clients where possible
- you may be given an exercise programme by a physiotherapist that you may be required to undertake yourself with guidance from a physiotherapy team member.

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.

Older Persons Outpatient Services

Your GP will refer you to this service if they think you would benefit from seeing a doctor who specialises in the care of older people to assist with any difficulties related to illnesses affecting you or to offer advice regarding your medical condition. Sometimes this will involve a home visit or being seen in clinic.
We commonly see people who have multiple medical problems and medications who are at risk of losing their independence e.g. people with falls, memory problems, continence issues, stroke or mobility problems.

The waiting times to be seen in our 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 will 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, and if possible bring a support person. 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.

Allied Health Services

Following discharge from the inpatient service, patients may be referred to the Allied Health team for ongoing care. 

Patients are also referred by their GP or health professional, if they are needing input from the Allied Health team.


New Zealand citizens or those who have obtained permanent residence are entitled to publicly funded health care.

Non-residents may be required to pay for their health care.

Click here to read more about eligibility for funded care at Lakes DHB.

Common Conditions

  • Memory Problems

    There are several types of memory problems people can have.   If you are referred because of memory concerns it is very important to bring along a family member or someone who knows you well. If you are being seen in memory clinic, a nurse will ask questions about your memory… 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

  • Parkinson's Disease

    Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological condition affecting movements such as walking, talking and writing.… More


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Contact Details

This page was last updated at 8:17AM on May 17, 2022. This information is reviewed and edited by Lakes DHB Older Persons Health & Rehabilitation.