Authors: Malcolm Horsfall and Sarah Joy, NSW
Event: 2006 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Treatment Processes and Rights, CONSUMER RIGHTS, MENTAL HEALTH, COLLABORATION BETWEEN CONSUMERS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS, SYSTEMIC CHANGE.
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Admission to an in-patient psychiatric ward can be a challenging and confusing experience for many consumers, particularly those on their first time to hospital. Many consumers are often unsure of their rights, and responsibilities, in these situations. An initiative that is in operation at Cumberland Hospital in Sydney’s Western Area Health Service, is a consumer-driven and social work facilitated group called “Law and Order”. This paper begins with an explanation of how the Law and Order group educates consumers of mental health services about their rights and responsibilities under the NSW mental health system. The result of this group has been the facilitation of an in-patient environment where consumers and their treating team are able to collaborate together to ensure that best practice standards of consumer care occurs. This paper will proceed to discuss the Law and Order group as a quality improvement project at Cumberland Hospital, before elucidating the impact that skills’ development has had on consumers’ ability to advocate for themselves on an in-patient unit. Qualitative and quantitative data has indicated a strengthening of consumer connections with a system that has not always respected or enforced consumer rights.