Improving the physical health outcomes of people with a mental illness
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Presented at ACMHN's 42nd International Mental Health Nursing Conference: Nurses striving to tackle disparity in health care, 25 – 27 October 2016, Adelaide Convention Centre.
The physical health outcomes of people with severe mental illness are well documented and most of this cohort live with a least one physical co-morbidity. The life expectancy of this group of people, when compared to the general population, is greatly reduced and is now estimated to be around 16 years. However, the gap continue to widen when evaluated against comparable groups 30 years ago. Who cares for this group of consumers is a critical issue in their care and there is often confusion between primary and mental health services as to who holds the responsibility to provide physical health care to this group. This presentation details the establishment of a Wellness Clinic at Fremantle Mental Health Services in Western Australia to address the physical health disparities in people living with a severe mental illness. It will also detail the establishment of a nurse practitioner position in mental health to staff the clinic in collaboration with a general practitioner. The clinic is an innovation and has now been operational for 18 months and the issues around the establishment of the clinic and the outcomes of care to a sample of 100 people over a 12 month period from July 1st 2014-June 30th 2015 will be presented. Lessons learnt about establishing and maintaining the viability of the clinic will also be discussed in the presentation.
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