Extra staff brought in for services under pressure.
Subject: Health care teams (Management)
Disaster victims (Care and treatment)
Emergency management (Management)
Earthquake damage (New Zealand)
Earthquake damage (Management)
Community health services (Services)
Pub Date: 10/01/2010
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: Oct, 2010 Source Volume: 16 Source Issue: 9
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics; 360 Services information Computer Subject: Company business management
Product: SIC Code: 8399 Social services, not elsewhere classified
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 241179350
Full Text: Co-ordinating the 14 Canterbury District Health Board (DHB) hospitals and linking with Southern Cross and St George's private hospitals was the principal rote of Canterbury DHB executive nursing director Mary Gordon.

"Some of our hospitals are on town water supply, so an immediate challenge was getting bottled water to them over that first weekend," she said. "Our critical incident management structure was up and running very quickly, as were our links with Civil Defence. The senior teams at each hospital were on site and visible, and extra support was brought in quickly. Akaroa Hospital had to be closed for much of the first week, as six damaged chimneys had to be removed. Lincoln Hospital also remained closed for some time.

"From my perspective, people putted together as a team just brilliantly. Those on night duty when the earthquake struck were pretty shaken up, particularly those in the rural hospitals where often there is only one person on at night. The fact they came back the very next night for their next shift really showed their professionalism, especially when some were facing significant damage to their own homes. Some people just had to stay home, but others found it easier to be doing something useful alongside their colleagues. Of course, if it had happened 12 hours later, it would have been a very different story, and we would probably have had a great deal of trauma and death to deal with.

"The aftershocks are slowing down but it's not over yet. While some parts of Christchurch were unaffected, others have been without water or sewerage for three weeks, particularly those in the eastern suburbs and Kaiapoi. These communities are under a tot of stress."

A number of mental health services had to be relocated from their central city premises, with about 100 staff moving to shared accommodation in Hillmorton Hospital. The DHB's anxiety disorders unit provided leadership to staff, emailing out guidelines on coping with the psychological impact of the earthquake.

Public health and infection control nurses were deployed to the four welfare centres, working closely with Pegasus Health which coordinated the primary health care response.

The DHB's neonatal unit was full, with some neonatal nurses from outside the area brought in to help. Twenty-one babies were born in the 24 hours following the 'quake. About 08 people had to come into the hospital to dialysise because of contaminated water supplies in the community. The cardiac unit was also under increased pressure. Cardiac catheter lab nurses from St George's Hospital were brought in to cope with the influx of patients suffering chest pains during the first three days. Numbers increased again following the 5.1 magnitude aftershock on Wednesday, September 8.

Although the DHB Lost about one and a half weeks of elective surgery and there is a backlog of outpatient appointments, Gordon believes the workload will be managed before the end of the financial year. "Our team spirit has been wonderful and I am sure that will continue."
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