Pilot Project: The effectiveness of a multidisciplinary physical health clinic within a mental health rehabilitation unit

Alexandra Harman1, Miss Talia McIntosh1

1Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, ,

Pilot Project: The effectiveness of a multidisciplinary physical health clinic within a mental health rehabilitation unit

People with a mental illness have an increased risk of physical disease, high rates of comorbidities and reduced access to health care, resulting in a 15-25 year life expectancy gap compared to the general population. Modifiable lifestyle factors are increasingly recognised as being fundamental to both physical and mental health. Studies have noted the positive outcomes from integration of a GP and regular physical health assessments as part of standard care in community mental health settings, and have highlighted the potential to lower cost and improve long term health outcomes. However, there is limited evidence supporting the implementation of an integrated care model focusing on physical health with specialised clinicians within an inpatient mental health rehabilitation setting. Therefore the purpose of this study is evaluate the implementation of a physical health clinic within a Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit. Consumers attended a clinic on the ward monthly during their admission for individual reviews with a Medical Officer, Exercise Physiologist and Dietitian. Using pre and post data over a 12 week period for metabolic risk factors, clinician attributable time and consumer surveys this study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the clinic on increased access to physical health care clinicians, enhanced consumer satisfaction and experience on the unit, and the cardio-metabolic health of mental health consumers.

(Note this study is currently underway and results will be available prior to the conference for the presentation)


Biography:

Alexandra Harman started off her career working as a Research Dietitian focusing Gestational Diabetes, and continued her involvement in local paediatric and renal research while working as a clinical Dietitian. She has pursued her interest in advocating for dietetics within the mental health space through her current position as the sole Dietitian on mental health inpatient units in the Illawarra, being an appointed member of the Dietitians Association of Australia Mental Health Interest Group Leadership team, and currently undertaking research aiming to explore and improve the physical health discrepancies of mental health inpatient consumers.

Talia McIntosh is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist working in the mental health inpatient units of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. She is currently evaluating the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary physical health clinic within a mental health rehabilitation unit, with particular interest in exploring consumer experiences and satisfaction with service change. Talia is personally and professionally passionate about bridging the gap between physical and mental health and advocating for Exercise Physiologists to be embedded into standardized mental health care.

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