Getting help

Primary health professionals and other health workers such as your general practitioner, community nurse, Plunket nurse or midwife, will often be great sources of information about a range of resources and local contacts. Remember they will not be able to anticipate every need you have, and you will find the help you need sooner, if you discuss your situation with them. Try to work out what one or two things would make the most difference to your situation. Discussing that will get any help you need, sooner.

Clinic nurses at the Paediatric clinic, or other specialist clinics, are likely to have more specific information about support that is relevant to rare and complex conditions, and the Paediatrician may suggest specific health workers such as developmental psychologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

Contacts should be offered by these health workers to helping agencies like IHC, CCS, and Barnardos, if that is appropriate to you, but if formal support services are to be put in place by these agencies and paid for by the Health Ministry, a  needs assessment will be required. This will be done by one of the agencies contracted by the Ministry to decide on your eligibility for this support. Some of these agencies are part of the District Health Board, and some are independent agencies, depending on the area in which you live.

Try our pages on health care and support for links to many sources of practical advice and help.

The other approach to getting good formal support for health and disability needs, is to talk the issues over with other patients or families who have been through the same experiences. They will often be able to describe very clearly what worked for them, and why, and this may speed up solutions to your needs. This is another example of the benefits of early contact with the appropriate support group.