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Recovery help at home for older Waikato patients

Older Waikato patients who’ve had a spell in hospital or the emergency department are recovering faster thanks to a personalised rehabilitation service that supports them in their own homes.

The Government is investing an extra $40 million into home based support services over the next four years.

The Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, has today seen first-hand the work of the Waikato DHB’s Supported Transfer and Accelerated Rehabilitation team (START).

Mr Ryall visited 82 year old ex All Black John Hotop and his wife Dot with the  START team.

“John has had a leg amputation. Now he will learn to walk with a prosthesis with the expert support of specialist nurses in his own home.

“This is a great example of patient-centred care, which is importantly, delivered largely within patients’ homes.

“These teams are made up of community and hospital specialist older persons nurses.  When an over sixty five year old presents at a Waikato ED, they go into action to support that patient so they don’t need to be admitted into hospital.  These nurses also provide post-operative care at home so that older patients can return home sooner.

“They set individual rehabilitation goals with patients and work intensively with them and their family in their own homes to achieve those goals – sometimes up to four times a day, seven days a week.

Mr Ryall says besides the obvious benefits for the clients, hospital wards have been reporting reduced length of stay, thanks to a seamless discharge process where people do not have to wait for services to have a space available.

“The START programme is innovative and a good example of partnerships between primary and hospital health care. Canterbury DHB adapted the programme for their situation after the earthquake with excellent results.

“Integrating health services between hospitals and health professionals in the community not only makes sense, most importantly it is better for patients.”


  • START (Supported Transfer and Accelerated Rehabilitation Team) operates in Hamilton, Thames/Hauraki and South Waikato.
  • Suitable clients are assessed to have a potential for partial or complete recovery with home rehabilitation within six weeks.
  • Their home has to be an appropriate and safe environment for the client and the team to work in.


Media contact:
Jackie Maher
021 243 7803

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