Promoting mental health, demystifying mental illness, countering stigma and discrimination

Te Puna Waiora

Family/Whanau and Supporters Guide to Te Puna Waiora:

Someone you care about has been admitted to Te Puna Waiora. The purpose of this web-page is to give you information about Te Puna Waiora and mental health services within Taranaki.

About the ward

Te Puna Waiora (the spring of healing waters) is a 23-bed acute mental health unit, with the majority of service users being admitted voluntarily.

Clients have the opportunity to participate in therapeutic activities in Te Puna Waiora, e.g. Recovery focused groups presented by peer support workers and mental health clinicians; sport, van outings, and crafts.

Leave is utilised to enhance normalisation and the discharge process.

Tangata Whaiora/ clients use leave in order to promote recovery, by attending to their personal affairs, engaging in social and leisure activities, engaging in their lives in the community setting and as an exercise of their human rights.

Inpatient treatment involves the Therapeutic Group programme and individual sessions with clinicians which may not always be booked in advance. The therapeutic program includes recovery focussed groups presented by peer support workers and mental health clinicians.

Whilst the mental health service is required to provide care and assessment to Tangata Whaiora / clients in the least restrictive environment possible, given the current facility design, client population with a range of ages, acuity levels, diagnosis and risk, the door of the inpatient unit will not be kept open. It is a duty of care to keep clients safe. Taranaki District Health Board considers this practice is in the client's best interest.

On admission

Your family member will be seen within 24 hours by a psychiatrist. 
From an initial assessment, plans will be made as to the best treatment for them.

As a family/whanau member or support person, you should be invited to be part of this assessment along with your family member.

Your family member will have a physical examination by the House Surgeon, to ensure that any physical problems are identified.

Your family member will be assigned to a team, it is important to ask whom the team will be and introduce yourselves to them. This can be done through reception.

What to bring

Your family member will need their usual daywear and a few changes of clothing, also nightwear, slippers and toiletries. It is better to send washing home, although there is a washing machine and tumble dryer available in the laundry.

It is also OK to bring in some personal items such as photos and small radios. Earphones are preferred. This may help to make your family member feel more comfortable.

Please DO NOT bring any valuable items into the unit, as we cannot guarantee their safety and do not take responsibility for property. Money can be locked in a safe at corporate reception.

Drugs and alcohol are not permitted in the unit. If it is suspected a visitor is bringing some in, they may be searched or asked to leave. If you are caught with illicit substances, the police will be called. It is not only your family member's illness you may affect but others in the unit. We have a zero tolerance policy on this issue.


Visiting hours are normally from 3.00pm to 7.30pm Monday to Friday, and 10.00am to 7.30pm Saturday and Sunday and public holidays, excluding meal times.

There may be times when you cannot visit during these hours. If that is the case, please discuss with the nursing staff to make other arrangements.

There are visitors' rooms available. Visitors are not permitted in the bedrooms without prior arrangement. If you bring children to visit, they need to be closely supervised by you and visiting will be restricted to the whanau room.

Visiting in IPC (Intensive Psychiatric Unit)

Visiting hours for IPC are between 3pm-7pm, by appointment only. Appointments can be made with the Senior Nurse on duty in IPC.

The protocol for visiting IPC will be explained to you by the Senior Nurse. It is important to note that since IPC is by implication a "low stimulation environment"; visits are normally limited to 15 minutes by one visitor at a time.

For safety reasons, children are not permitted in IPC.

Phone Calls to IPC (Intensive Psychiatric Unit)

No phone calls will be forwarded directly to your family member in IPC. The staff will talk to you, and give the phone to your family member to talk to you, or messages will be taken and passed on to you if your family member is not well enough to use the phone.

Going into Hospital

People tend to be only admitted to Te Puna Waiora if they are extremely troubled by symptoms and require intensive care until their symptoms become stabilized, or for managing medication changes. Service users are admitted voluntarily or under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992.

Voluntary admission happens when the psychiatrist or another treating professional recommends a person needs hospital treatment and the person agrees to be admitted.

If the psychiatrist does not think that hospital treatment is necessary, or if the hospital is unable to admit them, then staff in partnership with the person and their family/whanau will endeavour to get appropriate support from community based mental health services.

Mental Health Act or involuntary admission happens when the psychiatrist or other treating professional recommends that the person needs hospitalisation but the person does not agree to being admitted.

Under certain circumstances it is possible for them to be admitted, under a Compulsory Treatment Order, without their consent. The exact circumstances will vary from person to person, but in general, a person is admitted compulsorily for their own health or safety or for the protection of others. These circumstances must be due to a mental illness that van be treated in Te Puna Waiora.

There are a number of legal requirements setting out the circumstances in which a person can be a compulsory of involuntary patient under a Compulsory Treatment Order. These will be explained to the person and their family/whanau on admission and during the course of their hospital treatment.

Compulsory Treatment Orders

Understanding Compulsory Treatment

Legislation exists to provide compulsory treatment and admit a consumer involuntarily in certain situations.

The Mental Health Act allows a Compulsory Treatment Order to be invoked if your family member poses a serious risk to themselves or others, or is unable to adequately take care of him or herself.

Legislation requires that Assessment and Treatment under the Mental Health Act takes place in the least restrictive possible manner. The majority of compulsory patients are resident in the community.

If you would like to know more about the process, feel free to ask at reception for a Duly Authorised Officer to contact you.

Each region has a District Inspector, who must be a qualified lawyer appointed by the Ministry of Health and independent of the hospital. The role of the District Inspector is to ensure that consumer rights are fully observed and the legislation is applied in an appropriate manner.

Our District Inspector is Murray Cochrane.

Please feel free to call him with any concerns, 06 758 6049.

Family Accommodation

You or another family member or support person can make a request to stay at Whaiora on the Hospital premises. Please ask at reception how you can arrange this.

Whanau Room

A Whanau room is available for Tangata Whaiora/Service Users and their Whanau/Family. This room can be used for Family/Whanau meetings, or for private space for visiting.

Everybody is welcome to access this room by arrangement with in visiting hours. Please ask a nurse.

Chaplaincy Service

The hospital chaplain visits the ward twice a week or on request. Should you wish to speak to the chaplain please contact: Rev. Robert Anderson Tel: 06 753 6139.

Clinical Meetings

Whilst an inpatient, your family member's treatment plan, is reviewed at regular, multidisciplinary meetings, by the Mental Health Team. The team will consist of any or all of the following:


Medical officer

House surgeon

Inpatient nursing staff

Community nursing staff

Social workers

Occupational therapist


Alcohol and drug counsellor

Maori mental health workers

Consumer/Tangata Whaiora Advisor

Family/Whanau Advisor

Family/Whanau meetings

If there are concerns around the recovery of your family member or major changes to care plans, then the team may call a family/whanau meeting.

If the family has any concerns they may also request that a meeting be held. This usually includes the consumer, and people directly involved in their care, family and support people. This meeting is a good opportunity to discuss any issues or questions that may arise with the team and make sure that the needs of both your family member and the family are met by the service.


All service users have the right to access a lawyer; sometimes they may need assistance to do this. A list of lawyers is available; please ask at the nurses' station.

Family/Whanau Advisor

A Family/Whanau Advisor is employed within the Mental Health Service to assist family and support people with any concerns or information that may be required.

The Family/Whanau Advisor makes sure that family issues are raised at the highest possible level and that family input into the services is recognised. She is also responsible for the training of staff as regards the needs of the family.

Tel:       06 753 7777 ext 8550
Fax:      06 753 7796

Consumer/Tangata Whaiora Advisor

The Consumer Advisor has input into the Mental Health Service at every level and makes sure that the consumer voice is heard.

The Consumer Advisor provides systemic advocacy for service users and makes sure that the service delivered best reflects strength based and recovery models, and that service users are able to actively participate in their own treatment and support.

Sarah Gillington is available Monday - Friday 8.30 - 4.30

Tel:      06 753 7777 ext 8550
Fax:     06 753 7796


Planning for discharge will be continuous during your family member's stay. Wherever possible, Family/Whanau will be involved in this process.

On discharge your family member will be given a copy of the discharge summary and a copy of their relapse prevention plan. With your family member's consent, you can request a copy of this plan. The plan will include people you can contact from within the service if you have any concerns.

Support Groups

Supporting Families in Mental Illness, (S.F.) is an organisation set up to support Family/Whanau in Mental Illness. The Organisations Mission is to promote the best quality of life for people with Mental Illness and their family/whanau.

SF Taranaki

Manager - Tiake Tume
Field Worker North Taranaki - Catherine Heaven
Field Worker South Taranaki - Laura Douglas
3rd Floor, Devon Building, Liardet Street, New Plymouth
Tel: (06) 757 9300

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Taranaki Mental Health Sector