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National Award for Charles O'Neill Hostel

Catholic Healthcare’s Newcastle hostel wins HESTA's national aged care award.

A unique Newcastle-based aged care program operating at Newcastle’s Charles O’Neill Hostel for Australians suffering from mental illness has won the Team Innovation category at the 2015 HESTA Aged Care Awards.

The program, ‘A Safe Place to Call Home’ has been recognised for providing care to people who have often been turned away or referred from other facilities without the resources to provide adequate care for people with a mental illness.

Residential Manager, Kristen Grainger, said of the 40 residents in the hostel, 28 have been diagnosed with one or more mental health disorders, some requiring significant support with behavioural symptoms.

“The care team recognised that many people with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, personality disorder and depression, were not being adequately cared for in the region and that a program of care needed to be put into place to accommodate these people,” Mrs Grainger said.

“Over the past eight years, our care team has developed strong relationships with other specialist mental health services in the area, to ensure our hostel is the preferred service for seniors with a mental illness.

“Due to the level of education we have delivered to our team, we are offering tailored support services and provide a standard of accommodation that meets the diverse needs of the vulnerable and often displaced elderly members of our community.”

Mrs Grainger said the prize money would help fund the introduction of an art therapy program for residents on a weekly basis and contribute to further staff development and education.

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