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Aged Care Mental Health Pilot Interventions

Our PHN has funded a variety of service providers to establish new mental health interventions under the funding from the Commonwealth Government's Primary Mental Health Care for Residential Aged Care Facilities program and COVID-19 Mental Health In-reach Service and Support for older Australian Initiative. Details of the programs are outlined below.

Further information on the programs can be obtained by contacting Trinh Huynh Commissioning Coordinator

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Pilot

A number of Residential Aged Care Facilities across the Hunter New England region will have access to Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) and Collaborative Animal Assisted Therapy.

The program serves as a low to moderate intervention assisting with step up/ step down of psychological interventions. Residents will have access to up to eight sessions or up to 6 months during the pilot. The pilot will development a framework to implement AAT broadly.

The program will delivered by the Delta Society.

For more details contact Kate Kyiet, National Programs Manager,

Beating the COVID Blues -Hunter region

The program is operated by Feros Care and is a 12-week program based on what’s called 'Social Prescribing'.

A Wellbeing manager will support the older person to overcome barriers emerged through physical distancing over the 12-week program.

Barriers may include anxiety, depression, loss of confidence and physical healthcare. The program serves as a psychosocial and low intervention. This involves comprehensive assessment, care plan and reviews to support the 8 domains of wellness, connection and re-connections to mainstream services based on personalized goals.

Details on the program can accessed at

For more details contact Bonnie Capell

Grief Counselling in RACFs - Central Coast region

Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) on the Central Coast will have access to face-to-face interventions by a Bereavement Practitioner and telephone triage support operated by the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB).

The service is available to residents and their families/carers may access the triage line on 1800 642 066 (toll-free). The toll-free line will redirect families/carers towards accessing mental health services under the national COVID-19 Age Care Grief and Trauma package.

Details on the program can be accessed at

For more details contact Rick Ellis

EngAge Program in RACFs - Central Coast region

Facilitated by the Centre for Rehab Innovations at the University of Newcastle The program will be delivered by exercise physiologist incorporating interactive video-game exercise equipment (Exergaming).

Each session will be up to 1 hour and is accessible in trial sites of residential aged care facilities and in the community. The focus of the program activity is to improve social connectedness, engagement and positive experiences.

Details on the program can be accessed at

For more details contact Ann Thomas

HEAL - Health Eating Activity Lifestyle - Central Coast region

The Healthy Eating, Activity and Lifestyle (HEAL™) program is a revised program with a mental health focus to lifestyle modification. The modification involves developing healthy behaviour to improve diet, physical activities, mental health and social well-being.

The program is delivered by a tertiary trained healthcare professional. The program is a face-to-face 8-week intervention, where participants will attend the session twice a week for 8 weeks.

Details on the program can be accessed here

Further information is available by contacting John Stevens

Moove & Groove Program in RACFs - Central Coast & Hunter New England regions

The program is evidence-based with easy-to-use technology to provide individualised audio and visual content based on personal preferences for residents in residential aged care (RAC).

All residents can experience this, with particular focus on improving mental health outcomes as well as managing dementia changing behaviours. The latest ACU research showed am 80% reduction in dementia behaviours and 80% increase in staff satisfaction. Any RAC staff in participating pilot sites may refer residents to the program.

More details on the program can be accessed at

Further information is available from Kate Sowden

Emotional Well-Being for Older People (EWOP) - New England Region

Anglicare’s EWOP program provides multi-level mental health and wellbeing interventions, inclusive of case management, counselling and psychosocial support to reflect individual needs and goals.

The program is facilitated by a case manager and registered counsellor. The individual will be supported within the program to set goals and work toward them in a timely manner consistent with improved self-agency and reablement.

More details on the program can be accessed at Emotional Wellbeing for Older Persons (EWOP) (

Further information is available from Sarah Atkinson

Smarter Safer Home – Remote Monitoring Dementia - Central Coast region

Conducted by Hammond Care this program offers a non-clinical case management model by a Dementia Consultant with the supported by HSC Technology Group CIRSO licensed remote sensor system. The consultant will work with the individual, their family/carer and preferred healthcare professional.

The trial program is available to older Australians living alone in the community with dementia. The participant will engage with the program for at least 3 months then integrate into existing healthcare services in the community.

For more details on the program contact Sophia Rahman

Older Person Peer Support Program in RACFs - Hunter New England region

The Peer Support Worker and Carer Peer Support Worker program will be piloted by Hunter New England LHD across the New England region and will deliver low and preventative interventions to people living and/or transitioning in/out of residential aged care settings.

The Peer Worker will deliver service using recovery-orientation practice. The peer worker will provide support at least 6 weeks and at most 16 weeks.

For more details on the program contact Karen Young

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