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Transition unit welcomes residents

AGED care and mental health were the focus of a blessing last Thursday, marking the official opening of a new transition unit, operating in partnership between Catholic Healthcare and Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD), with the support of the NSW Ministry of Health.

A first for the Hunter region, the Mental Health Aged Care Partnership Initiative (MHACPI) transition unit welcomed 10 older people into the new ‘home like’ purpose built MHACPI transition unit, which is located within Charles O’Neill Hostel at Mayfield West in Newcastle.

NSW Health’s Pathways to Community Living Initiatve - MHACPI transition units are designed to support the transition of older people living with severe behavioural and psychiatric symptoms, or complex needs associated with mental illness and/or dementia and ageing, from long term acute mental health care services, via the MHACPI transition unit, into residential aged care.

“In line with the organisation’s mission to promote life in all its fullness, we are looking forward to supporting those in need, and providing them with the care and support they require to transition into mainstream residential aged care,” said Anne Maree Hodgson, General Manager Residential Care.

The focus for the Catholic Healthcare operated MHACPI transition unit, is for older people who have experienced long stays in mental health inpatient units in the priority sites identified under the Pathways to Community Living Initiative.

“The expected length of stay for a resident in a MHACPI transition unit is approximately 250 days. Throughout this period they will be provided with appropriate accommodation, care and support, with the focus on enabling them to transition to residential aged care,” concluded Ms Hodgson.

The HNELHD mental health service will be responsible for providing specialist psychiatric support, consultation, liaison and treatment advice for residents, working in collaboration with general practitioners and allied health professionals to ensure the physical and holistic health care of the resident is maintained.

In addition to this recent refurbishment of Charles O’Neill Hostel, Catholic Healthcare has plans to expand this service to accommodate an additional 40 residents, offering further capacity to care for the marginalised, socially and financially disadvantaged and vulnerable older people living with mental illness in the Hunter New England region.