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Flinders upgrade includes mental health services for older people

Older South Australians who need specialist mental health care will benefit from a new Older Persons Mental Health Service expected to be completed later this year at Flinders Hospital.

A new Older Persons Mental Health Service is expected to be completed later this year at Flinders Hospital
A new Older Persons Mental Health Service is expected to be completed later this year at Flinders Hospital

The new 30-bed service is part of a $185.5 million upgrade to the hospital which also includes a palliative care unit and state-of-the-art rehabilitation facilities.

The new Older Persons Mental Health Service, which will replace Ward 18, the current Older Persons Mental Health Unit at the Repatriation General Hospital, includes high levels of observation and purpose designed bedrooms and bathrooms. There is also more activity space for therapy, enhanced outdoor spaces which include a healing and sensory garden, and extra kitchen and refreshment areas to support independence.

Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN) Acting Director of Mental Health Strategic Operations Dulcey Kayes says the design of the new service had given the clinical team and consumers who use the service with a unique opportunity to provide input on ways to best support delivery of care to the southern community.

“The project has utilised the Design in Mental Health Concepts and Better Mental Health Bedrooms initiatives, which not only support a therapeutic space development, but also enhance the need for inpatient environments to be homely and non-stigmatised,” she says.

The design took into account consumer and carer feedback and ideas, including colour schemes, bedroom and bathroom designs, garden and outdoor environments and the layout for communal spaces such as the lounge and dining room.

“We believe the new building will be one to be proud of, one that supports and enhances the concept of mental wellness and progressive in reducing the stigma and discrimination that is so often associated with an admission to a mental health service,” she says.

The new rehabilitation centre will have 55 single patient rooms, gymnasium space, robotic equipment and a hydrotherapy pool while the palliative care unit is designed to give patients and family greater privacy. Located on the fifth floor, the unit will have 15 single rooms, all with ensuite bathrooms, and patients and their family will have access to shared spaces and a large rooftop garden.

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