Less than three percent of aged-care residents access government-subsidised psychological help, despite more than 40 per cent having significant levels of depression, anxiety, and other mental health difficulties.
To help combat this nationwide issue, a transformative mental health initiative for aged care residents has been awarded a $600K grant from The Ian Potter Foundation, supported by an additional $200K from Arcare Family Foundation.
Swinburne Psychology Professor Sunil Bhar says the poor adoption of psychological treatments is not well understood.
“There is no effective system-wide solution for improving adoption to address and prevent the high prevalence of mental health conditions in this vulnerable community. Aged-care residents with mental health issues are currently being prescribed medication rather than benefitting from the wide range of effective psychological treatments and associated supports available.”
“It is imperative that barriers to these treatments are understood, and a strategy is developed to facilitate their adoption in residential aged care.”
The project, led by Professor Bhar, examines the barriers to psychological treatments and develops strategies to optimise adoption of these treatments in residential aged-care so that they can be effectively incorporated.
The project partners are Deakin University, Flinders University, Macquarie University, Silverchain, The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Aged and Community Care Providers Association and Eva Tilley Memorial.
Chief Executive Officer at residential aged care facility Eva Tilley Memorial, Sharelle Rowe, says having access to psychological services is imperative in holistic care and service provision in residential aged care.
“Our elderly residents, their families and our large staff team are not immune to the stress that life can cause. In many cases the pandemic further impacted on the already vulnerable aged population and people in general.
“The work and the passion of the Swinburne Wellbeing Clinic is a much-needed resource in residential aged care should the service be required. I am so very delighted that The Ian Potter Foundation and Arcare Family Foundation have embraced the needs of the elderly and the vision of Swinburne in partnering with residential aged care. It's a huge win for our sector and the people we care for.”