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New mental health care program for aged care residents

Posted on August 26, 2019

A mental health program commissioned by Primary Health Tasmania will explore a new model of care designed to improve access to psychological treatment services for people living in aged care facilities.

It’s hoped the program will help reduce the impact of mental illness on older Australians living in residential care, who are up to five times more likely to experience mental health issues than those living independently.

Local not-for-profit organisation Richmond Fellowship Tasmania has won a tender to deliver the Australian Government-funded program, which aims to support residents living with mild to moderate mental illness by giving them access to a targeted course of psychological treatment services without out-of-pocket expenses.

In the program’s initial stages, Richmond Fellowship Tasmania aims to partner with three residential aged care operators with facilities in each region of Tasmania – south, north, and north west – to offer residents a range of evidence-based treatment options to be delivered within their facilities.

The psychological services offered might vary between facilities, according to the needs of residents, and are likely to include both face-to-face and group therapy sessions.

While three operators will be involved to start with, it is anticipated the program’s reach will extend over time, with Australian Government funding committed to mid-2022.

Before commissioning Richmond Fellowship Tasmania, Primary Health Tasmania undertook statewide consultation with local residential aged care facilities and other stakeholders.