JOONDALUP Health Campus is looking to address the complexities of treating psychosis in emergency department patients with upgrades to its mental health facilities.
From 2018, mentally ill patients will receive their initial treatment in the emergency department (ED) before being transferred to a $7.1 million mental health observation area.
It will be only the second facility of its kind in WA after Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital opened one two years ago.
Officials hope it will ease pressure on the emergency department and allow patients who would normally be left for observation in the ED to be assessed in a separate unit, thus freeing up beds.
Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell yesterday co-announced a $5.1 million Government contribution to the project as part of the State Budget.
Ramsay Health, which operates the hospital, will add the remaining $2 million.
Ms Mitchell said almost half of the approximately 800 JHC emergency patients who stayed more than a day were undergoing assessment for placement in a mental health unit.
“This purpose-built facility will allow patients with mental ill- health to be placed in an appropriate environment, where they can be accurately assessed and the correct treatment pathway determined without the time pressures that exist in an ED,” she said.
“Diagnosing and creating a treatment plan for someone suffering an acute psychiatric episode is not usually as quick as diagnosing someone with a broken arm.”
Health Minister John Day referred to statistics showing 3 per cent of the almost 100,000 emergency admissions at JHC in 2014-15 were for psychiatric disorders.
He said 30 per cent of those mentally ill patients required admission to a mental health unit.
The new facility would act as a bridge between the two.
“It is well recognised that units like this provide a more clinically suitable, low-stimulus environment for many patients suffering mental illness,” he said.
“This will be modelled on the successful unit at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.”