The future of mental health care has arrived in Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) with the completion of a 30-bed Acute Adult Mental Health Inpatient Service unit at Blacktown Hospital.
The stunning indoor and outdoor areas are all designed to support and empower patients in their recovery, with features including recreation and fitness spaces, sensory and de-escalation rooms, an abundance of natural light and beautiful artwork throughout the unit.
Staff and patients moved into the stunning new unit today following a welcome to country and smoking ceremony on Monday 21 February by Aboriginal elders Uncle Wes Marne and Uncle Greg Simms.
Kelly was the first patient to move into the new unit today and particularly appreciated the sensory room with its laidback lounge, ceiling art and private outdoor space.
“It’s amazing, it’s more than we could have hoped for. It’s very nicely done and I’m really lucky to be here,” Kelly said.
It’ll make me and other people a lot calmer and feel a lot more welcome, and feel like this is a safe place that they can get better in.
“This new space is so inviting and so welcoming; I think people will find it caring and supportive with the staff that are here, because they’re good staff as well.”
Speaking at Monday’s ceremony, WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy hailed the unit as a much-welcome upgrade from Bungarribee House that would integrate acute mental health care with other acute health services in Blacktown Hospital.
“This is really the first big step in connecting mental health care with physical health care and looking after all the needs of our consumers and our patients,” Mr Loy said.
“You can really see how the consumers have worked with us to make the space as best as we possibly can. Health Infrastructure and our Capital Works team have done a brilliant job. I couldn’t be more impressed. It’s a beautiful space.”
Consumers, families and staff all contributed at each stage of the design process, helping to create a therapeutic space that would best support recovery-oriented contemporary models of care.
“Those with lived experience of mental illness were involved from the very beginning. This was the first project where we had consumer and carer co-design from the beginning, and it shows. They really reshaped and redefined the way that we made this unit,” said Professor Vlasios Brakoulias, WSLHD Mental Health executive director.
“Everyone’s had something very important to contribute and with respect we’ve made it all come together to this fabulous project.”
Associate Professor Greg de Moore, director of WSLHD Mental Health clinical services, said the connection between mental and physical health had never been more important or so well recognised.
“The development of this unit is an extraordinary step forward for Western Sydney,” A/Prof de Moore said.
It is really a tremendous advance for us and certainly the facilities are gorgeous. I’m sure staff, consumers and their families will all enjoy and feel a great sense of pride in this unit.”
Blacktown Hospital general manager Ned Katrib described the new unit as “second to none”.
“I’m looking forward to working very closely with Mental Health in this new partnership to make sure that the needs of the community are met and we deliver great care across Western Sydney,” Mr Katrib said.
The relocation complements the $700 million Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals Expansion Project, and makes way for Bungarribee House to be demolished and work to begin on a new purpose-built mental health facility at Blacktown Hospital.