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More work needed on older persons’ mental health

By johnboy - 29 October 2010 2

The Auditor-General has been casting a beady eye over the ‘Delivery of Mental Health Services to Older Persons’. Today that office has announced the tabling of their report.

While not a failing grade areas have been found where improvements can be made:

    • The Older Persons Mental Health Services do not have well defined screening guidelines (i.e. entry and exit criteria). Guidelines on the current exemption to the age criteria and issues of ageing are vague.

    • There was inadequate communication and engagement with consumers, carers and other external stakeholders in relation to dementia-related illnesses that can be assessed and treated. A strong view was expressed by key community groups that acceptance of consumers with dementia was arbitrary and inconsistent.

    • Older Persons Mental Health Services does not have a good feedback mechanism to provide information, when permitted, to referrers about a consumer’s status after the consumer was referred to ACT Mental Health Services. Such information is important to referrers, such as the community organisations, for the ongoing care of their consumers.

    • Mental Health ACT has not communicated or collaborated effectively with relevant stakeholders to determine the extent of ‘unmet needs’ of older persons with mental health illnesses in the community.

    • The timeliness of response by the Older Persons Mental Health Services to demand for services was good, but there was no clear process to monitor cases where the response was delayed, or where needs of at-risk groups were not met.

    • Policy and guidelines on suicide prevention, while being comprehensive, were not well implemented. For example, Mental Health ACT did not conduct suicide risk assessments in all relevant cases as required by its policy. In the sample of cases Audit examined, only 52 percent of cases had the required risk assessments done.

    • There was no clear strategy to address the impact of admission blocks in the Older Persons Mental Health Inpatient Unit on staffing requirements and on other potential consumers.

    • The Older Persons Mental Health Services did not consistently conduct the required three-monthly reviews of long term consumers.

What’s Your opinion?


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2 Responses to
More work needed on older persons’ mental health
sepi 8:50 pm 31 Oct 10

Katy’s response was that the suicide reviews are being done, but the paperwork is not recording this.

miz 2:41 pm 31 Oct 10

“Policy and guidelines on suicide prevention, while being comprehensive, were not well implemented. For example, Mental Health ACT did not conduct suicide risk assessments in all relevant cases as required by its policy.”

From what I have seen (family member), this appears to be the case regardless of the age of the ill person.

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