Last Week in Windy Welly

First on my list of things to finish up here was to gain better understanding of the role of a nurse practitioner in the care of elders with dementia.  So I was lucky enough to spend a morning with Lesley Maskery who is the nurse practitioner on the Mental Health for Older Persons interprofessional team.  Each week the team gets referrals from general practitioners and others for comprehensive mental health assessments.  The team includes: social worker, occupational therapist, geriatricians, geriatric psychologist, nurse, and nurse practitioner. This week they had 7 referrals and would divide up the tasks of completing the assessment. It’s so inspiring to see highly functioning interprofessional teams.

Lesley took me to a facility which had senior apartments, rest home care (assisted living), and a dementia unit all on the same campus.  In the dementia unit, the staff is able to call on the nurse practitioner for assistance with problem-solving behavioral issues and medications changes as needed. The facility had lots of outdoor space, gardens and even a nesting quail. A near-by kindergarten was visiting and sharing arts and crafts time with the residents. Our last stop was a 16 bed acute care gero-psych ward which is used for stabilization before placement elsewhere. That facility was equipped with all the physical features necessary, but clearly the most important component was the caring staff.   Now I have a better sense of dementia care in this part of the world thanks to a lovely colleague who shares a similar passion. 

My wellness activities for this week include: more swims in the 50 meter pool that is now right across the street from me, a spin on an Onzo bike since I have finally have borrowed a helmet, time on the Meridian Wind Sculpture Walkway, and one more yoga class in the beautiful Space studio high on Mount Victoria overlooking the Wellington harbor.  Lucky me!

Lesley Maskery NP helped me understand dementia care in NZ
This city embraces it’s wind!

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