Our experiences

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Have you got your Health Passport yet?

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By Pam MacNeill
Hi, my name is Pam MacNeill and I’m blind.

I want to share some information about the new Health Passport with you. I am the Disability Responsiveness Educator at Capital and Coast District Health Board and recently I organised a Health Passport for myself.

Having a completed passport means when I’m talking to health professionals I don’t have to always repeat myself about my blindness and various medical conditions. And, if I were injured and couldn’t speak for myself the information in my passport could speak for me.

It’s helpful to have information about my blindness written down and the circumstances when I might need sighted assistance. I also want staff to be aware that I need health-related information provided in alternative formats, like electronic text or Braille.

I recommend having a Health Passport for anyone who:

• has an impairment to their vision or hearing, cerebral palsy or a learning disability
• speaks English as a second language
• takes multiple medications
• a medical condition such as epilepsy or Alzheimer's Disease
• has particular communication or support needs,
• has complex medical needs or
• visits hospital often.

It’s a great way to ensure health professionals have the information they need to give you the best care.
Present your passport when you go into hospital or visit any medical professional. Even if you have been going to your GP for a long time it’s good to bring your passport along to each visit. Don’t leave your passport with anyone though, it belongs to you and is your responsibility to keep it updated.

When completing your passport, you might include details about allergies and general disability-related information, like the way you communicate and want to be supported. You can also include information about how you want medical decisions to be made, any cultural requirements you have, medications you take, people who are significant in your life and support needs you may have relating to daily activities.

If you would like a hard copy of the Health Passport to complete, in either standard ink-print or large print easy read formats, please ask your GP or practice nurse.

You can also download an electronic copy of the Health Passport here: http://www.ccdhb.org.nz/planning/disability/index.htm.

A guide to help you complete the information needed in the Passport is also available from http://www.hdc.org.nz/about-us/disability/health-passport. The Guide provides helpful examples and explanations.

If you need help, this can be provided by a third party, such as a family member, a friend, an Advocate from the Health and Disability Nation-wide Advocacy Service or your local Citizens Advice Bureaux.