Regional Local Health Networks in South Australia are leading the way in mental health reform, providing a number of new specialist inpatient services in major regional locations in South Australia.
Integrated Mental Health Inpatient Units are an exciting development in this expansion of country-located services for mental health consumers. Operating in the North West (Whyalla), the Riverland (Berri) and the South East (Mount Gambier), the Inpatient Mental Health Units provide a stepped model of acute care, supporting the recovery-orientated mental health service
Located within the regional hospital, each IMHIU features six single bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and a comfortably furnished dining and lounge area, making the environment as welcoming and home-like as possible. The integrated service includes a full time psychiatrist, which brings benefits to all mental health consumers in the region.
The Australian Government has made a significant investment to deliver additional subacute beds and places in South Australia. Furthermore, the State Government has invested substantially to improve SA’s mental health services and infrastructure, in response to recommendations made in the Stepping Up: A Social Inclusion Action Plan for Mental Health Reform 2007-2012 report. Together, these investments have markedly increased the capacity of South Australia’s mental health system.
Admissions and referrals
The Integrated Mental Health Inpatient Unit is an additional service and will not replace existing mental health services. The Integrated Mental Health Team will remain supportive of consumers receiving ongoing care from GPs.
Referrals for consumers with an acute mental health condition can be made by any health professional, including General Practitioners (GPs) and Mental Health staff. Prior to the decision for admission to the specialist mental health unit, the resident Clinical Lead Psychiatrist will review the referred consumer in discussion with the referring health practitioner. In some circumstances an alternate treatment and care plan may be recommended rather than an Inpatient Unit admission.
Benefits of Integrated Mental Health Inpatient Unit for people living in regional South Australia include:
Integrated Mental Health Inpatient Units will:
aim to prevent consumer transfer to metropolitan based facilities wherever possible
offer greater equality of access and proximity of care for country people
enable consumers to remain close to home and their natural supports, depending on bed availability and level of care required.
The integration of inpatient and community mental health care will mean:
simplified and improved consumer pathways and continuity of care across the inpatient and community settings
strengthened and improved sustainability of mental health services through the broadening of the local service model
supporting the recovery-orientated model of care through engagement and consultation between mental health staff and carers and family.
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