Courtenay and Demar, their story

12 Feb 2019 | Patient Deterioration

Shared goals of care: effective communication and shared decision making, a whānau perspective

Courtenay Mihinui shares the story of her journey through the health system with her daughter Demar.

Demar contracted meningitis at five-months-old and deteriorated quickly in hospital. At the time Courtenay was confused and upset, with Demar’s condition explained to her in terminology she didn’t understand.

When Demar was 12 she contracted pneumonia and this time Courtenay was given time and space to react to information about Demar’s condition, and autonomy to decide which actions to take. Courtenay hopes that honesty, respect and sensitivity will be offered to families and whānau facing difficult situations within the health system in future.

Courtenay’s top tips for a new clinician talking about the possibility of a patient dying:

  • be real - admit that you don’t know everything, admit that you’re uncomfortable
  • be honest
  • be respectful.

Last updated 24/03/2023