Key support person and patient advocates | Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand | Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty

Key support person and patient advocates

Nominating a key support person for emotional and practical support, and information about patient advocacy services.

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Key support person

A patient or their whānau/family can nominate a key support person for emotional and practical support.

They will be able to stay with the patient for from 8am to 8pm - longer than the normal visiting hours.

A key support person is usually a loved one - for example, a spouse, partner, parent, sibling, adult child, close friend or whānau member.

If the patient is not able to nominate someone, then whānau/family can do this.

The key support person may change with the patient’s wishes and the person's availability.

The key support person is welcome (but not required) to be with the patient to:

  • participate in clinical conversations and family meetings
  • participate in clinical handovers
  • help with basic/essential care needs (in agreement with appropriate staff)
  • support the patient with decision making
  • help with the transition of care to the patient’s home.

Key support people can visit even outside the hours of 8am to 8pm at the discretion of the nurse in charge of a ward. For example, the key support person may be able to stay beyond 8pm if:

  • they are a child's parent
  • they are the carer of a patient with an intellectual disability
  • the patient is in the end stages of life.

Advocacy services

The Health Consumer Service Trust is a group of professional and approachable people who provide a free and confidential service for people who:

  • are concerned about the health care service they have received
  • feel they may need to make a medical complaint

They have local representatives in the Bay of Plenty.

They can help write letters or make phone calls on your behalf, advise you about health complaints, come with you to meetings with your health care provider, and support you with a complaint.

They can help with health services including medical, surgical, mother and baby, chemist, dental, disability support, home help, counselling, rest-homes, mental health, community health services.

Health Consumer Service
0800 801 482

The Health and Disability Advocacy network provides a free service that can help you resolve a complaint about a health or disability service.

Health and Disability Advocacy
0800 555 050

The Code and your rights

You have:

  1. The right to be treated with respect.
  2. The right to freedom from discrimination, coercion, harassment, and exploitation.
  3. The right to dignity and independence.
  4. The right to services of an appropriate standard.
  5. The right to effective communication.
  6. The right to be fully informed.
  7. The right to make an informed choice and give informed consent.
  8. The right to support.
  9. Rights in respect of teaching or research.
  10. The right to complain.

Visit to read the Code in full and learn more about your rights and the complaint's process.