Toowong Private outreach program wins global prize

The Toowong Private Hospital team: (l-r) Fiona Morrison, Jean Laing, Andrew Butwell, Nicola Welch, Vattey Sokmongkol

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.

“The Mobile Recovery Support Service is for eligible Bupa customers 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,” she said.

“Since partnering with Bupa, we have really been able to offer a more comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach and that’s been great.”

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.

“For people with severe anxiety and depression, these are socially isolating illnesses,” Ms Gee said.

“People might feel well in the hospital, but then when they are back in the community, something minor could disrupt them completely.

“This program enables us to follow them into the community and get them back into a healthy social life.”

Depending on the needs of the patient, nurses and allied health staff visit the patient at home, continuing the support they received in the hospital.

“This program has been especially helpful for psychiatrists,” Ms Gee said.

“We have experts that can visit patients in their home, in their natural setting and see if they are coping or not.

“Often people can hold it together for a monthly psychiatric appointment, but then it all falls away when they are at home. Our staff can see pretty quickly if people are not coping.”

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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