Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service Review

Roadmap for specialist older persons’ mental health care

The Oakden Oversight Committee report (PDF 6MB) and SA Health’s response (PDF 83KB) were released on Tuesday 31 July 2018.

Through the Oversight Committee, six Expert Working Groups have spent almost 12 months exploring how to implement the Chief Psychiatrist’s Oakden recommendations and plan for a new service that treats all patients with dignity and respect.

Significant improvements have already been made, including commissioning Northgate House and planning for the development of a state-wide Neuro-behavioural Unit.

To address the remainder of the new model of older people, SA Health will develop a detailed implementation plan. The Oakden Response Implementation Plan will outline the steps required to deliver improved Models of Care, optimum staffing models and suitable infrastructure for this specific cohort of vulnerable people.

The Oakden Response Implementation Plan will have the oversight of senior executives in SA Health, including the Chief Executive and Chief Psychiatrist, and updates will be publically reported every six months. The first stage of the implementation plan is expected to be available late 2018.


A review of the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service was undertaken by the Chief Psychiatrist, an independent statutory officer under s90 of the Mental Health Act 2009.

The Review Report  (PDF 3MB) and the Response to the Review (PDF 171KB) of the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service were released on Thursday 20 April 2017.

An Oversight Committee was established in June 2017 to ensure that all six recommendations in the Review Report were fully developed and implemented. The Oversight Committee’s Final Report (PDF 6MB) consolidates the work of the committee and Expert Working Groups and provides a future plan for the direction of Older Persons Mental Health Services in South Australia.

SA Health outlined its Response to the Oakden Report Response Plan Oversight Committee’s Final Report (PDF 83KB) on Tuesday 31 July.

Closure of Makk and McLeay and Clements House

Safely transitioning residents and closing all facilities at Oakden has been a focus for SA Health since the Chief Psychiatrist’s Report was completed.

Clinical Services closed at Clements House on 22 September 2017, with the last two clients relocating to Northgate House. This followed the June closure of the Makk and McLeay wards when residents transitioned to the refurbished Northgate House and other care providers.


Following the Oakden Report and acceptance of all six recommendations by the South Australian Government, an Oversight Committee was established to ensure that all recommendations are fully developed and implemented. The recommendations, which can be read in full in the Response to the Review (PDF 171KB) included:

  • developing a specialised contemporary model of care for people over 65 years of age who live with the most severe forms of disabling mental illness and/or extreme behavioural and psychological manifestations of dementia
  • provision of appropriate infrastructure to implement the model of care
  • developing a staffing model that utilises the full range of members of a multi-disciplinary service
  • developing a new and appropriate clinical governance system
  • ensuring there are people in senior leadership positions that can create a culture that values dignity, respect, care and kindness for both consumers and staff
  • developing an action plan based on Trauma Informed Principles and the six core strategies developed by the National Centre for Trauma Informed Care.

Six expert working groups were established to implement each of the recommendations and include consumers, carers, advocacy bodies, industry representatives, industrial bodies, aged care experts and SA Health clinicians. Each group has a focus on achieving contemporary services which are consumer centric, developmental and best practice.

Oakden Response Plan Oversight Committee