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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4521..

individuals to regain skills to undertake daily living activities. A communication strategy has been developed with hospitals, discharge planners and other stakeholders. COPS began taking referrals for the packages in September 2002. To date the packages have been successful in assisting people to return home following lengthy stays in hospital.

� Convalescent Care Unit - A 9 bed convalescent care service has been established at Calvary Public Hospital. The Service began taking clients in September 2002. Patients requiring convalescent care are discharged from hospitals prior to admission to the unit. The unit provides the opportunity and resources for people discharged from an acute episode to regain daily living skills and through improved physical functioning, be able to return home. A flexible program has been designed to enable people transferring to convalescent care from a hospital setting to participate in a program that addresses their individual needs and assists them to improve, maintain and restore function. Clients spend up to two weeks in the unit before returning to their home.

These programs provide a range of post hospital services to improve the transition process from hospital to home and improve linkages between the acute and community sectors.

(lc) psycho-geriatric Care

The budget promise to improve the accessibility and quality of psychogeriatric care is being met in two ways:

� Mental Health ACT has recruited an Associate Professor of Aged Psychiatry, and he will commence work with the Older Persons Mental Health Service by 9 December 2002. He will provide specialist advice, treatment and care for people with dementia-related challenging behaviours. As well, he will provide specific specialist training to increase the skills of staff in the Older Persons Mental Health Service, and other relevant services, in working with the elderly clients with challenging behaviours.

� In addition to this, Mental Health ACT are negotiating with ACT aged care residential and acute services, and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, to colocate specialist psychogeriatric treatment and care services in mainstream facilities. This initiative would increase the bed capacity in the ACT for psychogeriatric services, and reduce the need for interstate transfers.

This collaborative approach has successfully achieved high quality, cost-effective psycho-geriatric care in the Moorshead Home, and provides an excellent model for further development of these services. These negotiations should be completed early in the new year.

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