This is sponsored content for Hunter Primary Care
When it comes to mental health and disability, even the most progressive and compassionate societies often fall short. Dealing with issues around disability can be difficult. Even if you have services in place and the people who need them have access to them, it isn't always enough.
If a person is in crisis or lacks the ability to sufficiently manage their own affairs, they can easily fall through the cracks. Furthermore, if a person has a complex set of needs, such as mental health, homelessness or severe health issues that impact daily living, services may disengage.
As a result, the person continues to lack stability and more pressure is placed on psychiatric facilities, hospitals and the criminal justice system. That's why the NDIS funds Specialist Support Coordination for people with a psycho-social and general disability.
Locally, Hunter Primary Care (HPC) is using its experience to provide the service and help people with complex needs. HPC has extensive experience and expertise in this field. Prior to the NDIS, they provided a similar service through various programs including Hunter Partners In Recovery. The NDIS service provides participants with even more support than before.
In exceptional and time limited circumstances, not only do participants receive a Support Coordinator, they also receive a Specialist Support Coordinator and, at HPC, the support of a range of health specialists and services, and help to navigate the often complex services landscape.
"HPC aims to go above and beyond to provide a quality service to engage and provide tailored support to participants, when other services may have given up due to complexity," said HPC Mental Health Care Coordination Manager Lisa Craven.
"We've seen really good results for people from the support that can be provided through our Specialist Support Coordinators through their NDIS funding for people with severe mental health complexities and general disabilities."
HPC Specialist Support Coordinators encompass a range of specialties, including Social Workers, Dietitians, an Exercise Physiologist, and Occupational Therapist, enabling them to work with a range of complexities.
Recognising that some people need specialised care, the service targets resources to where they're needed.
The service allows the Support Coordinator to work on the relationship with the participant while the Specialist Support Coordinator works in their field of expertise behind the scenes. If the current support structures are not working, HPC identifies new approaches.
Team Leader Dannielle Greenwood said HPC works intensively with people who require an extra level of support, such as those coming out of the criminal justice system or a long stay in hospital.
"We also work with people still involved in the criminal justice system and those with recurring admissions," she said. "Sometimes participants are living on the street and we need to locate them and meet them where they are situated. They're not always stable and Specialised Support Coordination works with the Support Coordinator intensively to get them back on the road to recovery.
"If the Support Coordinator is spending the majority of their time working with the client on complex issues, it's hard to make progress with recovery. That's where the extra layer of coordination comes in."
The service is also assisted by the support of HPC's Clinical Advisor, Sharon Grogan. Ms Grogan has extensive experience in clinical settings, including hospitals and community mental health teams.
Sometimes participants are living on the street and we need to locate them and meet them where they are situated.
Working closely with the specialist team, Ms Grogan assists with navigating the health system, providing clinical information including the side effects of medication and requests for psychiatric reviews.
As well as helping participants deal with immediate issues, one of the key goals of HPC's work is identifying and putting in place the best services to set them up for a healthy future, and help them achieve their goals. A big part of that is developing a network of allied health services who can work together to make sure their needs are met.
"The job of our coordinators is also to ensure everyone involved in the participant's care is talking cohesively and planning for future risks," said HPC's Primary Care Coordination Manager Claudine Ford, whose role includes managing allied health professionals and developing and providing programs focused on chronic disease management. She also has a special interest in helping people tap into the valuable support offered by mainstream primary care such as GPs, pharmacists and other health services.
"If a particular person needs a specialist from an allied health perspective - that could be a Dietitian, an Exercise Physiologist, an Occupational Therapist - the coordinator uses their expertise to coordinate everyone involved, make sure they understand the person's needs, and then translate that back to the person in non-clinical language."
"There are a range of different solutions out there and that could be a combination of NDIS, Medicare-funded GPs or hospital-funded programs. We are able to provide insight into the range of programs that can support and look after the whole person.
Taking a simple step like ensuring the participant has a GP who is fully aware of their situation can be invaluable and is encouraged by HPC. "Not everyone has their own GP but they are a really key person," said Ms Ford. "Regularly seeing a GP, having check ups, means they see you when you're sick but also when you're well so they know the difference."
For more information about the service contact Hunter Primary Care on (02) 4925 2259 or visit: https://hunterprimarycare.com.au
This is sponsored content for Hunter Primary Care.