Monday, July 20, 2009

Bowral Hospital and the Bowral Mental Health Service

In 1998 some additional funding permitted Bowral Hospital to nominate two beds to be available for the use of patients with sub-acute mental illness, enabling them to be admitted voluntarily. This allowed the local GPs and the mental health staff the opportunity to admit their patients for stabilisation, review and possible consultations with the visiting psychiatrists and psychiatric Registrar.As a general rule the beds for this purpose can be co-located with patients admitted for other medical and physical reasons. Therefore, if there are no mental health patients in hospital the beds are utilised for any other purpose. This allows the Bowral Hospital to operate at maximum capacity more effectively and efficiently.People who are admitted to the Milton Park Ward at Bowral Hospital for a mental health reason are visited, assessed and reviewed daily by the Mental Health Hospital Consultation Liaison Service. This service will make recommendations to both the patient's treating doctor and the patient. Such recommendations could be about further follow up by the Mental Health team, referral to appropriate external service providers, referral to an outpatient appointment with a VMO psychiatrist at the Community Health Centre, or care coordination by the mental health service in collaboration with the patient's own general practitioner.All patients presenting to the Bowral Hospital Emergency Department (ED) can be sure of a response from the Bowral Mental Health Service. In day hours a person attending to the ED of the Bowral Hospital will be seen by the first available mental health worker. On presentation to ED by a patient with mental illness the hospital staff triage the patient and page the mental health service to attend. A preliminary but thorough, assessment is carried out by the staff member of the Bowral Mental Health service, a medical assessment is performed by the medical staff of the ED and the outcome for the patient determined by the nature of the person's mental illness and presentation. Generally, the patient may be admitted to the Hospital, discharged home in the care of another family member or friend, or transferred to another mental health facility as prescribed by the NSW Mental Health Act 2007.When patients present to Bowral Hospital ED out of the normal working hours of the Bowral Mental Health Service, the staff of the ED are able to respond to the patient's need by making an assessment, provide appropriate treatment, and make appropriate referrals as needed.The three Mental Health First Aid Trainers in the Bowral Mental Health Service have undertaken training for staff of the Bowral Hospital and the Community Health Centre. This 12 hours of education and training allows the trained staff to better understand and manage the mental illness and disorder of the patients who may present to the clinical work areas within the health facilities.The role and expertise of the Bowral Mental Health Service can be found in referrals from all areas of the hospital and community health centre. In the Childrens Ward, Maternity, Short Stay, High Dependency, Emergency Department and Milton Park Ward the Bowral Mental Health Service is well known for its response and service to patients of the hospital.

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