Moving Home: Health / Aged Care Partnerships for Older People with Severe Behavioural and / or Mental Health Needs in RACFs

Mental health reform in NSW has a strong focus on enhancing community care. My Choice: Pathways to Community Living Initiative (PCLI) supports people with severe and persistent mental illness to transition from long stay hospital care into community services. For older people, a natural pathway may include a transition into residential care.

Mental Health–Aged Care Partnership Initiative (MHACPI) transition units are expanding under PCLI. This model of care brings together expertise from NSW Health older people’s mental health services and from non-government aged care services. Increased staffing, psychological approaches to behaviour management, and home-like environments incorporating design principles for people with dementia/mental illness are key elements.

Our paper explores the challenges in designing such spaces, with reference to case studies. We discuss the relationship between model of care and the environment in the MHACPI unit context, providing a supportive community living option and improving access to long-term, community-based care.

Emily Gilfillian

Billard Leece Partnership

Emily Gilfillan has been the driving force behind BLP’s burgeoning Senior Living portfolio. Emily continually grows her knowledge, undertaking study tours to investigate common trends locally and abroad and is an advisor to the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI), a centre of excellence for research into ageing and improving the quality of life and health of older people.