New mental health care for older people
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Wolper Jewish Hospital

New mental health care for older people

Wolper Jewish Hospital has introduced a holistic approach to health - covering everything from medications review to mental health.

Wolper Jewish Hospital’s medical ward is fully equipped to provide restorative care for older people with complex medical needs. The service is run by well-known geriatricians who specialise in rehabilitation, Drs Sandy Beveridge, Elizabeth Harper and Nicholas Mills. They are supported by a full multidisciplinary team including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nursing staff, exercise physiologists, speech pathology, dietitians and discharge planner.

While in the hospital, patients also benefit from a medications review conducted by Wolper’s clinical pharmacist Dr Ben Basger.

Patients are assessed and a plan is developed, specific to the patient’s needs to maximise function and to promote independence.

New to Wolper Jewish Hospital’s multidisciplinary team is Dr Louisa Norrie, a psychiatrist with a particular interest in the management of mental and cognitive disorders affecting older people.

Dr Norrie previously worked at St Vincent’s Older People’s Mental Health Service alongside Wolper’s consulting geriatricians who have long seen a need for her services at Wolper Jewish Hospital.

Referrals are made to Dr Norrie by the geriatricians or rehabilitation physicians when they suspect a patient is experiencing anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment, distress, psychosis or other mental health issues. Dr Norrie will carry out an assessment and conduct cognitive testing if appropriate. While admission to Wolper is relatively short, she can provide treatment while in the hospital and will provide recommendations and referrals for ongoing treatment and support if needed after discharge.

“Having Louisa Norrie consulting at Wolper Jewish Hospital has been a great addition to the team,” Dr Nicholas Mills explained. “Focusing on a patient’s mental health, alongside the physical aspects of their rehabilitation, enables us to provide a more holistic service for older people.”

Social worker Elizabeth (Libby) Love has also joined the Wolper Jewish Hospital team very recently. Social workers provide counselling, information and referrals to other services.

At Wolper, Libby is responsible for providing information and care to medical, rehabilitation and palliative care patients and their families. She has a passion for advocating for older people and people living with a disability, ensuring that all patients have equal access to holistic care and the support they need to return to their home safely following discharge from hospital. When a patient is unable to return to their home, needing to go to residential care, Libby will provide the support necessary to adjust to this major change in circumstances.

Patient history and in some cases, past trauma, can very much impact a patient’s mental health and therefore their recovery and needs in terms of their care. In these cases, Libby works closely with Dr Norrie or the patient’s referring physician to identify ongoing needs and support.

Libby also works closely with Joan Washer, Wolper’s discharge planner, who coordinates ongoing care for patients needing further medical or other support post-discharge. Carefully planning the transition of care from hospital to home or another residential care facility can reduce hospital length of stay or unplanned readmission to hospital.

Admission to Wolper Jewish Hospital requires a referral from a general practitioner, specialist physician or referring hospital.

For more information, visit wolper.com.au

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