Southern DHB announces winners of the 2018 Southern Innovation Challenge
The Southern DHB will fund a feasibility study into the prospect of establishing community care cottages for people
living with dementia in Central Otago, after the idea was named overall winner of the Southern DHB’s 2018 Southern
Community care cottages are small, supported-living homes with four-to-five bedrooms and shared communal facilities,
allowing people with dementia to live as independently as possible in a home-like atmosphere. Unlike large residential
facilities, daily routines can be more flexible in care cottages, better suiting the needs and preferences of individual
In the winning proposal from Healthcare New Zealand Community Health, Programme Manager: Health of Older People, Vanessa
Pullan, cited international research showing “increased levels of engagement and decreased levels of distress and
behavioural challenges when dementia patients were moved from large dementia units into care cottages.”
She also identified a need for increased, local health services for people living with dementia in Central Otago, with
Statistics New Zealand projections indicating over-65s will be the predominant age group in the region in ten years.
This need was acknowledged by Central Otago Mayor, Tim Cadogan, in a letter of support for the proposal. In it, he
recalled an encounter with an elderly Alexandra man whose wife is in dementia care in Dunedin.
“That is a 400-kilometres round trip that this 70-year-old drives every week and has done for several years, just so he
can see his wife,” Mr Cadogan wrote. “I almost wept on hearing his story.”
Southern DHB Executive Director People, Culture and Technology, Mike Collins, says the proposal is timely.
“We know that improved access to local dementia care is a priority for Central Otago residents,” he says. “Establishing
dementia care cottages in the region could provide the opportunity for more people living with dementia to enjoy
improved health outcomes and to remain in their local communities, close to their whānau and wider support networks. We
await the results of the feasibility study with great interest.”
There were four other winning ideas:
Chief Executive Officer Award: Virtual Health Clinics in Dunedin’s Antidote Pharmacies
This pilot programme involves the installation of virtual health assessment booths in all six Antidote pharmacies across
Dunedin, linking directly to Maihealth, a cloud-based health service run by Dr Lance O’Sullivan.
The booths will be equipped with the necessary tools for assessing a variety of physiological signs, allowing patients
to quantify their symptoms with help from a specially-trained staff member.
Patient Priority Award: Dunedin Hospital Clinical Skills Lab
A fit-for-purpose remodel of seminar rooms will establish a realistic single ward bed environment to facilitate
Simulation training is a proven tool for skill advancement and improving patient outcomes, and integrating this into the
hospital environment will help embed it into core culture and practice.
Staff Priority Award: Strengthening partnerships in a clinical setting
A range of resources will be developed and delivered to support productive and collaborative working relationships
between healthcare staff within the wider Southern DHB and its partners.
Because strong inter-professional collaboration can improve outcomes for patients, shared education on collaboration
will be provided to doctors and nurses currently in the workforce and to students in training.
Community Priority Award: Video tools informing patients of invasive examinations
The Radiology Service with Southland Hospital will produce a series of videos about common diagnostic procedures,
including scans by ultrasound, CT and MRI, for patients to watch ahead of their scheduled appointments.
The videos will show the environment and equipment used to perform these examinations, in order to better inform
patients and reduce levels of patient anxiety.
The Southern Innovation Challenge is now in its sixth year and received a total of 33 entries in 2018. This year’s
winners will now be able to advance their proposals with the help of prize money and organisational support.