Innovations: Step up / Step Down

Resolve team.jpgABOVE: Some of the staff members are, L-R, Emma Brown (Peer Worker, Barraminya), Jenny Craig (Senior Cluster Manager, Bathurst), Sheree Masling (Manager, Parkes), Danielle Edwards (Senior Mental Health Worker, Barraminya), Germaine Rich (Peer Worker, Barraminya) and Amy Vandervegt (Occupational Therapist, Barraminya and Panorama).

Flourish Australia partners in rural sub-acute units

By Warren Heggarty 

In the June 2018 issue of Panorama you may have read about The Resolve Program, the aim of which is to reduce the amount of time people spend in hospital for mental health issues. Flourish Australia is also involved in two Sub-Acute units in Dubbo and Bathurst whose aim is pretty similar. Panorama spoke to manager Sheree Masling about them.

There are approximately 20 Flourish Australia staff employed across two sub acute mental health units in Dubbo and Bathurst. Dubbo unit is officially known as Barraminya (Wiradjuri for “recover”) and we are pleased to hear the Bathurst unit is officially known as Panorama, though we suspect it is named after the famous mountain in Bathurst rather than our magazine!

Barraminya and Panorama are a partnership between Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) and Flourish Australia and are situated on the grounds of their respective hospitals. The partnership began in October 2017 and is funded for 3 years, with the possibility of two one year extensions.

The team at Barraminya and Panorama consists of staff from Western NSW Local Health District (registered nurses, social worker, Psychologist, Psychiatrist and Doctors) and staff from Flourish Australia (mental health workers, peer workers and an Occupational Therapist).

The Flourish Australia staff are based in both locations, with Manager Sheree Masling, based off site in Parkes.

“It’s the first time I’ve felt connected with someone in a setting like this… felt like you saw me as an equal and that made feel comfortable and relaxed, and very much reduced my anxiety and confusion around being at Panorama… I felt that you listened and made an effort to understand me as a person” 

– Mr B, a person who accessed the service

Barraminya serves a very wide geographical area, extending across Northern NSW (excluding a zone served by Broken Hill). During the first year of operation there were approximately 180 people who sought support through Barraminya.

Panorama covers a smaller geographical area which is more densely populated. 196 people sought support through Panorama in the first year of operation.

“The partnership is working really well,” says Sheree. “Each unit can support up to ten people at one time. The units operate a step up/step down model of care.” The focus of the partnership is to work together adopting the strengths of both organisations, in order to best support the needs of the people who use the service, providing recovery-based rehabilitation services.

The step up/step down model of care provides early intervention in a subacute inpatient setting for people with a mental illness living in the community, as well as a transition service for people returning to the community from an acute inpatient stay in a hospital based facility. “While there is no set time frame a person can/has to stay in the units, we have found over the first twelve months of operation that the average length of stay for people has been approximately 11 days,” Sheree says.

Flourish Australia staff provide non-clinical, recovery-based support to people accessing the services, and use CANSAS conversations, Individual Recovery Plans and a recovery group program, as well as working collaboratively with clinical staff from Western NSW Local Health District to ensure a solid foundation for each person’s recovery journey.

Once a person returns to their community they receive a clinical follow up after 7 days (WNSWLHD) and a recovery-based follow up at 28 days from Flourish Australia staff.

Thanks also to Jenny Craig


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