Authors: Wolston Park Hospital, Brisbane
Event: 2001 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: QLD
Award level: Bronze
Award category: CONSUMER/CARER PROGRAM OR SERVICE
Abstract: Until the late 1990s, Wolston Park Hospital in Brisbane was the largest psychiatric hospital in Australia. A plan to downsize, redevelop and decentralise services provided by the hospital included the employment of two Consumer Liaison Officers (CLOs). The brief of the Consumer Liaison Officers was to work with consumers and service providers through the transformation. Specifically their skills and experiences were employed to minimise adverse impacts of the changes on consumers. Direct initiatives of the CLOs were many (information leaflets, posters, forums, individual support, pre relocation visits with consumers moving, newsletters, sexual safety courses for men and women, memorabilia/photo albums, videos, conference presentations, networking etc.). A partnership between the CLOs and two professional service providers was a key factor in the success of the role and involved support, education, and exploration of issues. The successful progression of many tasks throughout the changes testified to the development of a more genuine consumer carer partnership at the hospital. Description of Facility/Organisation: Wolston Park Hospital has been until recently, the largest psychiatric hospital in Australia. Less than a decade ago Dr John Hoult, in his national survey, described it as ‘the worst’. Since that survey, considerable change has taken place at the hospital. There are no longer acute beds on campus, the hospital has reduced in size by about two thirds to under 200 patients, and many smaller decentralised community based services have opened with resources transferred out of Wolston Park Hospital. The remaining hospital is being rebuilt and is due to open early in 2002. There has been significant cultural and attitudinal change under way at the hospital. There has been a pronounced emphasis on rehabilitation and recovery, and considerable efforts have been made to make consumer and carer participation in the service ‘real’. The consumer relocation project, described in this application, is testament to the successful changes underway at the hospital.