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Aged Care Mental Health Pilot Interventions

The 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.

Details of the programs are outlined below.

For existing psychological interventions for people with moderate mental illness living in Residential Aged Care Facilities see here.

Further information on the programs can be obtained by contacting

Trinh Huynh

Commissioning Coordinator
Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Pilot Program

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

The low to moderate intervention program assists with stepping psychological interventions up and down as required. Residents will have access to up to eight sessions for up to six months during the pilot, which will enable development of a framework to implement AAT broadly.

The program will be delivered by Delta Therapy Dogs.

For more details contact Kate Kyiet, National Programs Manager,

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 a qualified exercise physiologist incorporating interactive video-game exercise equipment (Exergaming).

Each session will be up to one hour and is accessible in RACF trial sites 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

BrainStrength - Mid Coast and Port Stephens LGAs

BrainStrength is an integrated physical activity and education program focused on improving physical and psychological wellbeing of older adults through improving health literacy around mental health and healthy ageing and the use of robust, anti-frailty exercise strategies.

The program is delivered over 8 weeks, face-to-face, where participants will attend weekly workshop sessions with an allied health professional.

More information is available at or by emailing

Resparke Program in RACFs - Central Coast & Hunter New England regions

The Resparke program is evidence-based with easy-to-use technology to provide individualised audio and visual content based on personal preferences for residents in RACF.

There is a particular focus on improving mental health outcomes as well as managing dementia changing behaviours. The latest ACU research showed an 80 per cent reduction in dementia behaviours and an 80 per cent increase in staff satisfaction. Any RACF staff member in participating pilot sites may refer residents to the program.

More details on the program can be accessed at

Further information is available from Philippa Silva at

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 or out of residential aged care settings.

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

For more details on the program contact Kate Miller on 02 4033 5679 or email

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