Plunket sees parents and children under stress.
Subject: Emergency management (Management)
Disaster victims (Demographic aspects)
Disaster victims (Care and treatment)
Disaster victims (Psychological aspects)
Nurses (Practice)
Nurses (Social aspects)
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; 290 Public affairs Computer Subject: Company business management
Product: Product Code: 8043100 Nurses NAICS Code: 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 241179355
Full Text: Supporting staff was Plunket's first priority, said Canterbury area manager Anne Feld.

"Shortly after the 'quake, we started texting all our staff to check on their welfare. We advised them not to come to work from the Monday to Wednesday and to cancel all their appointments. White phoning to make these cancellations, they checked on their clients to see how they were coping. We also sent staff to the evacuation centres to check on children's health and to reinforce the messages about the sorts of challenging behaviours parents might face when living in these situations.

"By the Thursday we had opened four Plunket hubs--in Rolleston, Kaiapoi, North Parade and Addington. Families were told they could meet a Plunket nurse face-to-face in one of these hubs. About half our staff were not available during the first week, as they were caring for their own school-aged children, but the other 50 percent divided themselves up among the four hubs. Top priority was, and still is, seeing mothers with new babies and contacting mothers with babies aged less than 12 months."

Meanwhile, all 53 Plunket clinics in the Canterbury area were checked for safety, with this work being repeated as the aftershocks continued. In the end, only four clinics were deemed unusable.

By the Tuesday, members of the operational team were getting tired. Support in person from the national office in Welting[on, including chief executive Jenny Prince, was welcomed.

"Having nurses working together in the various hubs worked very well," Feld said. "Nurses could share their experiences with their colleagues and keep client time for parents to tell their stories. Many parents were coping with a range of stresses, including memories of struggling to get to their children during the 'quake, problems accessing dean water if their babies were formula-fed, the effort to buy formula when a number of shops were closed, and concerns about hygiene with disrupted and contaminated water supplies.

"Lately, many parents have discussed regressive behaviour in their children, eg those who were dry at night who have begun bed wetting again. Some are refusing to feed themselves and have become hypersensitive to noise and movement. We have distributed a tot of information on how to cope in these circumstances. We are also offering all staff, volunteers and clients two-hour sessions with a Save the Children psychologist who offers guidance to people on how to normalise major stressful events such as an earthquake. "

Feld anticipates that stress symptoms will become more apparent among both staff and clients once they begin to feet safe and are no longer operating on adrenalin. Focus will remain on the youngest clients and those with high needs.
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.