Psychological treatment services now available for people living in residential aged care facilities

Residential aged care facilities (RACFs) in the North Brisbane and Moreton Bay region are now able to offer psychological treatment services for their residents, under new funding from the Department of Health.

The funding will address the current gap in services for older people with mild to moderate mental illness. Approximately 39 per cent of residents are living with mild to moderate depression, Mental health services are not routinely available to older people living in RACFs, despite approximately 39 per cent of residents living with mild to moderate depression (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2015).

The Psychology in Aged Care Wellbeing program commenced on 1 January 2019, with full implementation by 2023. Primary Health Networks are commissioning local models for the delivery of this program Australia-wide.

Within the Brisbane North and Moreton Bay region, Brisbane North PHN has provided funding to Change Futures to expand their current low-intensity service offering to include services for people with moderate mental illness in nine RACFs, with plans to reach an additional seven RACFs by June 2019.

Change Futures has reported positive outcomes for residents who received low-intensity services in RACFs over the last 18 months, with evaluation showing the program leads to measurable reductions in residents’ anxiety and psychological distress. Providing moderate services under the new funding will open the program up to more people in need of mental health services.

Services are delivered by mental health professionals including psychologists, social workers and mental health nurses and benefits for residents are expected to include mood improvements, reduction in anxiety and stress, and increased ability to cope with life changes.

Brisbane North PHN is currently working to identify RACFs within the Brisbane North and Moreton Bay region interested in providing the Psychology in Aged Care Wellbeing program.

For more information or to refer to the service please email racmentalhealth@changefutures.org.au or phone 07 3857 0847.