30 November 2018

The Commonwealth Government has provided funding through Primary Health Networks to commission new mental health services for older people with mental illness who reside in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF). This will help address the current gap in services for this demographic and offer access to psychological services which are similar to those available to people with mental illness in the community under Medicare arrangements.

The NWMPHN Health Needs Assessment has identified residents of RACF as a population that have unmet mental health needs. The benefits for RACF residents from accessing needed psychological services are expected to include mood improvements, reduction in anxiety and stress and increased ability to cope with life changes. Residents with mental illness will be more likely to engage in activities and social connections at the facility if they receive treatment appropriate to their needs.

The new services will be rolled out incrementally, starting from January 2019 and will gradually ramp up to full implementation in 2023. The NWMPHN will start by commissioning a small number of services to test and further develop local models of providing care to this group.

If you have experience in providing mental health services to older adults in residential aged care settings and are interested in participating in a trial of services, please contact Carol Westrup: carol.westrup@nwmphn.org.au

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