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Hunter region sees success in first MHACPI transition

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The Hunter’s Mental Health Aged Care Partnership Initiative (MHACPI) unit, a first of its kind for the region, has proven its overwhelming effectiveness in the successful transition of their first patient moving from the unit into mainstream residential aged care.

Basil, a resident of Newcastle’s Charles O’Neill Hostel, has successfully transitioned out of the specialist mental health unit into mainstream residential aged care after living with mental health conditions for a significant part of his life.

The MHACPI unit is a specialist mental health model providing long term care to people with severe and persistent psychiatric symptoms. The model uses specialist consultation-liaison and case management support to assist in patients’ eventual transition into mainstream residential aged care, so independence and improved quality of life can be regained.

The MHACPI unit at the Charles O’Neill Hostel is the second of two units to operate under Catholic Healthcare, and a first for the Hunter region.

Basil has been experiencing mental health difficulties for a number of years, and prior to his transition into mainstream care was a long-term permanent resident in mental health specialist care. Basil’s successful move is particularly heartwarming considering his daily struggle with his conditions in conjunction with the tragic loss of his wife and daughter within a few short months of one another.

Despite these various challenges, the transition into mainstream care has been overwhelmingly positive. Basil’s move from the MHACPI unit into his new home at the Charles O’Neill Hostel has proven ‘slow and steady’ truly does win the race. Basil’s carers report that considering his generally introverted nature, his gradual interest in community activities, mingling with other residents and even partaking in old hobbies like watching his favourite NRL team, The Newcastle Knights, has demonstrated a truly remarkable transition into regular life.

Residential Manager, Miriam Mutasa, says the change is a positive step not only for Basil, but for staff members as well.

“We [the staff] have had previous experience with day-to-day management of mental health conditions, but this has been completely out of the regular comfort zone. We’ve been able to step up and take on a completely new level of management. The staff should be very proud of themselves”.

The success of Basil’s transition illustrates the importance of unique, specifically tailored solutions in care management for older people, and particularly those living with mental health conditions.

It’s the first of many steps for the Hunter region – but a giant leap for the Aged Care Industry.

“We’re easing him in, slow but sure,” says Miriam. “There are some clients who are suitable to transition but their families aren’t quite sure yet. I hope Basil’s story will show that it really can be a success”.