Quality initiatives

Patient & family centred care

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Improving patient experience in Waiatarau Unit

Improving patient experience in Waiatarau Unit

Improve the environment for our service users and their overall experience while residing in our Waiatarau Unit (acute adult mental health unit)


A number of initiatives were identified as a result of:

  • Feedback from our service users, consumer groups, families / whānau and staff
  • Regular meetings with the Walsh Trust Action Council
  • Best practice recommendations

What did we find?

There were four key issues identified affecting service users and their family / whānau experience:

  1. Female service users reported feeling unsafe, were witnessing verbal / physical aggression, and there were incidents of unwanted sexual advances
  2. Service users were dependent on staff to lock / unlock their rooms - they were concerned about privacy, theft and personal safety
  3. The existing whānau and interview rooms were clinical and uninviting
  4. There was lack of a safe place for children to visit with their parents

What did we do?

1. Vulnerable women's wing

We undertook a literature review and consultation with service users, families, staff and other units resulting in:

  • review and redesign of existing space to provide a 5-bedded female wing with restricted access and separate outdoor area
  • employment of additional female staff

2. Service user room keys

We provided each service user with their own room key which gives them a greater sense of security and control.

3. Whanau and interview rooms redesign

We redesigned our whānau and interview rooms to provide more comfortable and private spaces for service users and their visitors. Since the redesign, many more people have been using the whānau rooms.

4. Kids zone

We created a "Kids Zone" as a family / whānau friendly space away from main areas to provide privacy. Thank you to staff for their donation of toys and books to help create this space.

The aims of the space are to:

  • help reduce stigma and barriers for children to visit their parents
  • provide an environment for parents and children to play together
  • provide a place for mothers with babies to spend time

Did we make a difference?


Increased service user and family / whānau satisfaction

Safer admission for our vulnerable females - decrease in complaints and incidents

Greater sense of security and safety for service users with own room keys

Staff feeling heard and increased team satisfaction

Reuse and recycle - don't need a big budget just get innovative!

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