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PHN report assesses pilot mental health programs supporting aged care residents

The PHN has released a report into several mental health pilot programs it has supported, aiming to improve the mental health of residents in our aged care communities.

Commencing in 2020, the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN) commissioned community service providers to deliver several pilot programs within Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) aiming to support the mental health of older Australians living in, or transitioning into, RACFs across the PHN region.

Five interventions were piloted in RACFs, four were new interventions and one an expansion of existing mental health services focused on the RACF environment.: The pilot interventions were:

  • Older Person’s Peer Support Service (new)
  • Bereavement Counselling Service (new)
  • Animal Assisted Therapy (new)
  • Music Therapy (technology assisted service) (new)
  • Primary Mental Health Care Psychological Service (expansion of existing services).

The interventions were designed to prevent and mitigate mental health issues for residents as part of a stepped care framework.

The PHN commissioned ARTD Consultants in 2023 to undertake an independent evaluation comprised of a process and outcomes evaluation of the package of pilot interventions to help determine the feasibility of scaling the approach to cover all RACFs in the PHN region.

The evaluation employed a rubric-driven approach, enabling individual and collective assessment of the programs under key target areas identified by the program logic.

The report Older Australians Mental Health Pilot Programs, summarises the outcomes findings from the independent evaluation.

It is an abridged version of the formal evaluation report Evaluation of Aged Care Mental Health Services, June 2023 from ARTD Consultants.

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