Valleys hospital is looking to help people with a range of conditions with its online services.
Auckland’s St Mary’s Hospital and Auckland’s Christchurch University Hospital are among the hospitals using its technology to offer care to people with disabilities, including autism.
The system, called a Connected-Care Hub, lets people with the disability connect with doctors, nurses, psychologists, therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, social care providers, occupational health experts and other care providers.
It is the first time the technology has been used to provide online care for people who have autism.
There is currently no dedicated online service for people diagnosed with autism, which means a person cannot be seen by a doctor or a nurse or see a psychologist unless they are accompanied by someone with autism.
But in the coming weeks, people with children will have the ability to access a range from online support to physical visits.
They will be able to have access to information from specialist services such as a GP and specialist occupational therapists.
The Hub also offers a range, from a physical visit to a range in-person appointments.
Some people with developmental disabilities and other medical conditions are also being helped to connect with specialist services through the Hub.
New Zealand has seen an increase in the number of people with special needs and autism in recent years.
But this is largely because of the work of the National Disability Network.
Its work with local disability services has made a huge difference, helping to reduce the number and level of disability-related problems in Auckland.
This is not the first hospital to use the technology.
Earlier this year, Auckland’s Valley Hospital, which is about to close its St Marys and Christchurch hospital, launched a service called Connected Care Hub.
It lets people who need help connect with mental health professionals and health specialists via the Hub, as well as accessing services such a mental health check-up.
Dr David Macdonald, the senior medical director at Valley, said people who were diagnosed with mental illness and had autism were also being given the opportunity to access the Hub’s online services, such as appointments and services.
“The Hub is really about connecting people with people who are doing the same job.
They’re not the same people, but they’re the same age, they’re both young people with learning disabilities, so they need to be able [to] be seen and heard.”
He said the Hub also offered a range for people without autism.
“We can give them a range or they can use the Hub as a support group.
It’s really about getting them to talk about what they need, and get them in touch with someone who is able to help them.”
And then we’ll get them to a GP, or a therapist, or occupational therapist, and talk about the different problems they have, and maybe get a referral to someone that can help them with the issues.
“It’s also about supporting people to manage the symptoms of autism and being able to connect and share information and skills.
Dr Macdonald said the work was important because many people with mental illnesses have very limited social skills, which makes it difficult to communicate with others.”
There are also a number of physical disabilities that can be associated with autism that are difficult to manage in the workplace, and the Hub is about making that work.
“So people who can communicate, and are able to communicate well, can also get in touch and share their problems.”
He described the work as a “big step forward” for people.
“I think this is an important step forward for the mental health community, because it’s really providing people with more support in dealing with issues with their autism,” he said.
The Hub has received a $1.9 million grant from the Auckland Regional Government to support its development and testing.
It has been tested at St Mary and Christcourt hospitals, where about 30 per cent of the hospital’s staff were diagnosed as having autism.
This will enable the hospital to develop a range more tailored for people on the autism spectrum, such a online system where people can see a doctor, access psychological services and a specialist occupational therapist.
The hub is designed to be a bridge between those who need to interact with people with different health conditions, and those who can’t, such an online service where people who cannot communicate can be seen.
The Health Ministry is also supporting the Hub development through its new disability-focused mental health strategy, which it has already announced it will roll out across all of the country’s health systems in the next six months.
The strategy calls for a shift away from focusing on the needs of the disabled, which in turn would make it easier for the health sector to provide the services people need.
The New Zealand Disability Support Group, which works with health organisations to assist people with disability, has welcomed the Hub project as a step forward.
Dr Michael Kelly, a disability advocate who works with a number in the mental and behavioural health sector, said the new online service would help