Gold Coast Health has recently opened a new Queensland-first Crisis Stabilisation Unit at Robina Hospital designed to divert patients in acute mental health crises away from emergency departments and into a comfortable, therapeutic, and home-like environment to ease their crisis.
Gold Coast Health's Deputy Clinical Director of Mental Health Services, Dr Hitesh Joshi, said the unit was the first of its kind in Queensland.
"We are one of the first health services in Australia to introduce a crisis stabilisation unit and model of care, which offers a more suitable environment for treatment than the Emergency Department," he said.
"Traditionally, those in crisis would have been taken to emergency departments for help, and it is not an ideal place for them to go.
"Clinicians and people with lived experience designed the Unit to provide a less clinical, more home-like, and therapeutic environment for consumers and their families. It allows clinicians to work hand-in-hand with our lived experience and peer workers to ensure that people experiencing crisis receive the best quality care."
Carer Representative Cindy Heddle knows firsthand the importance of the new unit.
"When my son first came into the hospital in crisis, he had to sit for many hours in the emergency waiting area. This is not the right place for people who are feeling suicidal," she said.
"A mental health crisis can be life-threatening, and it is very important for people in crisis and their families to know there is a dedicated team of caring people waiting to support them. An integral part of the team in the unit is the peer workers. They come from a lived experience perspective and can support people from a place of true empathy.
"Knowing that this person has been through what you're going through and has come out the other side is living proof that you can get through this."
The Crisis Stabilisation Unit has 12 chairs and access to eight short-stay beds and is an important expansion of mental health support services on the Gold Coast.Admissions are co-ordinated through Queensland Ambulance Service,
Queensland Police Service and the hospital’s emergency department.The service does not cater for self-admissions.