Toowong Private outreach program wins global prize

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An outreach program for mental health patients at Toowong Private Hospital has been recognised with a global award.

The Mobile Recovery Support Service (MRSS) has won a Bupa Excellence Award and according to the hospital’s CEO, Christine Gee, it’s a program that is changing lives.

Ms Gee said the service offers individually tailored, one-to-one, time limited support that enables the patient to enhance their quality of life.

“The service is for eligible Bupa members with a mental illness who have had an in-patient admission, or who are at risk of an in-patient admission – sometimes we are able to catch people before they need to be admitted to inpatient care.

“This partnership with Bupa has enabled us to offer a more comprehensive approach to the delivery of mental health care and services. The service provides a multi disciplinary team to assist our patients in the community. This is contemporary care for the treatment of mental health conditions that enables us to deliver the right care in the right place at the right time.

“For people with severe depression and anxiety , these are socially isolating illnesses, allowing this community model of care enables a smoother transition to home and in a number of cases has also enabled us to support patients in their home and avoid a period of hospitalisation” Ms Gee said.

“People might feel well in the hospital, but then when they are back in their homes, they can sometimes feel overwhelmed and when that takes hold they may deteriorate quickly which unfortunately often results in re-admission to hospital and another cycle of disruption to their quality of life.

“This service enables us to follow them into the community and provide a stepped care approach to supporting them in a recovery based approach to treatment of their mental health illness.

“This service has been especially helpful for the patients’ treating psychiatrist as well as the patient and their families and carers," she said.

The service is aimed at supporting members in the community to prevent further hospitalisation and reducing the length of stay when admitted to in-patient services.

The service offers individually tailored, one-to-one, time limited support that will enable the patient to enhance their quality of life.

“Depending on the needs of the patient, nurses and allied health staff visit the patient at home, providing specialist mental health treatment and support as well as assisting the psychiatrist with case management services. Toowong Private Hospital is trusted by the psychiatrists and patients and there is already an existing therapeutic relationship there. Patients find that very reassuring which in turn increases the effectiveness of the treatment, it’s a seamless and coordinated approach to comprehensive mental health care.” she said.

According to Bupa, the Global Clinical Excellence Awards seek to “recognise and celebrate those individuals and teams across our company and organisations that we have partnered with who have gone above and beyond to help keep our people healthy and safe”.

The MRSS was entered into the Quality and Safety Award Division. The criteria for this category was:

  • Demonstrate sustainable improvement in clinical outcomes and/or reduction in adverse outcomes for customers
  • Demonstrate sustainable improvement in quality of life for customers

The judges were impressed with the model of care offered by the MRSS, as well as the assertive outreach approach and the improved clinical outcomes for people accessing the service.

“We’ve found there’s been a minimum need for people to come back into hospital, we’re really pleased with the results and so are Bupa,” Ms Gee said.

“It has lessened the frequency and length of hospital stays and the patient is able to build a rapport with their health professional.

“And you know, it brings patients a lot of peace of mind – imagine leaving a safe, 24-hour hospital care environment and then suddenly they’re home alone; but with this, they are supported.

“The staff are thrilled with this program as they are able to build a level of trust with the patients.

“Mental health care has changed so much and for us to be able to provide this expert level of comprehensive care, it’s a great approach,” Ms Gee said.

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