Waitemata care guides making a big difference in age-related residential care

6 December 2012

A collaborative work group involving clinical and managerial staff from Waitemata DHB and age-related residential care (ARRC) facilities is behind the highly acclaimed Registered Nurse (RN) Care Guides and Care Giver Guides for Residential Aged Care now being increasingly used around the country.

The concept of the care guides dates back to 2007 when a working group under the umbrella of Waitemata’s Residential Aged Care Integration Programme (RACIP) asked the ARRC community what would be the most beneficial outcome of this work group for them. The answer they received was: “The development of clinically related guidelines for common geriatric conditions which are evidence-based and promote best practice.”

The challenge was taken up by Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Dr Michal Boyd with a team of Gerontology Nurse Specialists and Wound Nurse Specialists. The development of the Registered Nurse Care Guides led by Dr Boyd and later the development of the Care Giver Guides led by Janet Parker, Nurse Practitioner and current lead for RACIP, were subsequently produced by Waitemata DHB in collaboration with residential aged care clinical and managerial staff. These are proving very popular in the Northern Region and beyond.

Registered Nurse Care Guides for Residential Aged Care, recently released in third edition, provide a quick reference for 18 common conditions encountered when caring for older people in residential care. Based on the best available evidence and published guidelines, they promote early intervention and communication with other members of the multidisciplinary teams, particularly the older person’s GP.

The Care Giver Guides for Residential Aged Care consist of six A3 posters that prompt care givers to observe for early warning signs of deterioration and report this to the registered nurse. Feedback from care givers is that they have been delighted to have such information available to them and that the guides have helped them to act logically during any related emergency.

With sections on falls and pressure injuries in each guide, there is a good fit with the Northern Region’s patient safety campaign First, Do No Harm. One of First, Do No Harm’s key aims is to reduce falls causing harm and reduce pressure injuries by 20 percent across the Region.

“We have found both the RN and care giver guides to be a valuable tool,” says Linda Venables, Regional Manager, Radius Care New Zealand. “It has been a privilege to be part of writing them and we use them constantly in our day to day nursing practice. Our RNs use the tools to assist them with nursing assessments and to confirm nursing diagnosis. The tools also help when communicating with other health practitioners such as GPs to ensure the correct language is used.”

The guides are available in electronic version from the Waitemata DHB website

Hard copies have been provided free of charge to age-related residential care facilities in Waitemata and can be purchased for $25 from the New Zealand Nurses Organisation This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for use elsewhere.