Beds help combat rheumatic fever


 

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A concerted effort to help improve living conditions for families threatened by infectious diseases such as rheumatic fever is being supported by a $25,000 grant from the Rotorua Trust.

Service Co-ordinator, Lynda Wareing, is based at the Western Heights Health Centre, where she works with providers to ensure healthier homes by sourcing beds, bedding, heaters, dehumidifiers, dry firewood and mould kits and providing advice and support to people to use their homes in a healthier way.

Most referrals come to Lynda through Rotorua Hospital when a patient is identified as having an indicator condition which is more likely to occur in crowded conditions or cold damp housing.

Research shows warmer, drier houses that are less crowded can help reduce the incidence of the illness.

Many of the patients’ families have previously exhausted alternatives such as Work and Income NZ, so the Rheumatic Fever Prevention Healthy Homes initiative aims to work cooperatively with government and community agencies to provide practical solutions.

Lynda works with Western Heights Community Association, Work and Income, WISE Better Homes, landlords, Rotorua Curtain Bank, Housing New Zealand, and agencies such as Urban Ore to reduce the incidence of infectious diseases in vulnerable families.

The Trust funding helps buy new beds for families. Research has found children sharing beds puts them at risk of becoming sick, and sleeping in separate beds reduces the instance of rheumatic fever. The Western Heights programme has been under way for a year. Up to 29 February 2016, 138 interventions had taken place, with 32 families referred for beds and bedding, 10 for heating, six for social housing, 21 for curtains and 27 for insulation.

CONTACT
Lynda Wareing
Rheumatic Fever Healthy Homes Coordinator
Western Heights
Health Centre
1 Brookland Rd, Rotorua 022 0855 866 or
07 347 0565
lynda.wareing@rgpg.co.nzto

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