Neami in the news
Recovery centre wins trophy

Barrier Daily Truth
July 22, 2014

A project representing a major innovation in design and workforce strategy in mental health care has won the 2014 Far West LHD Health Innovation Award.

The Awards event last week featured a presentation by each of the five finalists. 

The overall winner was the Far West Mental Health Recovery Centre.

Opening in March 2013, the Far West Mental Health Recovery Centre (FWMHRC) in Broken Hill was a welcome addition to the local Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol (MHDA) Service.

It lifted the number of mental health beds in the area from six to sixteen. Since it commenced operation, there have been 111 admissions to the FWMHRC.

For a remote service, the additional beds posed a number of challenges, not the least of which was how to recruit the staff.

The solution came through contracting Neami National, a Community Managed Organisation (CMO), to operate the new service.

This was the first time a NSW public health service has worked in close partnership with a CMO to provide this level of care.

It represents a major innovation in mental health care, in design and in its workforce strategy.

The FWLHD Health Innovation Awards recognise the excellent work of clinicians, staff and service partners to improve patient safety, clinical quality and health system performance across the Local Health District.

Eight projects were submitted for the awards in categories based on the NSW Health Innovation Awards. 

In addition to the overall winner two encouragement awards and the inaugural Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) award were presented.

The ACI award was presented to “Sugar Gum - Diabetes and Gum Disease”, a joint project between the LHD and RFDS.

Diabetic patients have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. Sixty-six percent of patients in the program showed a reduction in glycated haemoglobin (an indicator of a person’s average blood glucose level for the 2 to 3 months before the test) with 22 per cent showing a significant reduction.

Encouragement awards were presented to:

* Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) Management Model for Broken Hill Health Service Maternity Unit. New best practice guidelines from the Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society resulted in an increase in GDM diagnosis in the Far West Local Health District. In response to this increase the relevant departments at Broken Hill Health Service developed a program to utilise the expertise of dieticians, diabetes educators, physicians, the lactation consultant and obstetricians in conjunction with the midwives to provide a coordinated and timely approach to the management of women diagnosed with GDM. 

* Move2Music - Improving physical activity and socialisation using music and dance as therapy in older people and others of all abilities (Dareton Primary Health). This project has resulted in increased physical activity and socialisation in a group setting which participants can relate to. It has provided opportunities for community members who have had limited social interaction, to meet others in a neutral and supportive environment. All this is done against the backdrop of a dance. “We were very pleased with the quality and number of submissions and the presentations on the day,” said Ms Linda Sorum, Director Clinical Governance, Far West LHD and one of the judges.

The winners will be entered into the NSW Health Innovation Awards for 2014 to be held later this year.

Originally published in the Barrier Daily Truth

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