Improving Physical Health of Consumers in Cardinia Casey
There is a growing initiative and understanding of the complex interrelationship between physical and mental health.
Through the Improving Physical Health of Consumers in Cardinia Casey initiative, Monash Health intend to create two new 0.5 EFT positions called Health Coaches to undertake physical health screening of mental health consumers, and develop holistic patient centred treatment plans addressing the physical and mental health needs of the consumers.
This project will foster and strengthen collaborative relationships with patients, their carers, GP’s, mental health community teams and other support workers, empower patients to understand responsibility for their health and improve referral pathways to specialist services such as dieticians and exercise physiologists, to address the common physical health issues that are experienced amongst this cohort of mental health consumers.
Changes to metabolic markers were noted on the patients involved during this project. Although the number of clients showing the improvement was small, it showed that assertive outreach and follow up of health needs and health education over a longer period of time will have better outcome. 16 patients showed some improvement in their metabolic markers like BMI, waist circumference, blood sugar levels and lipid profile.
During the project, staff noticed an improvement in clients’ engagement regarding their physical health, evident by them requesting and responding to specialist referrals and showing interest in healthy lifestyle education.
The dynamic nature of continuing care teams caseloads i.e. clients get discharged and new clients are taken for follow up, made it a challenge to screen all patients as initially planned.
Assertive outreach can have a positive impact on physical health outcomes for people with mental health issues. Clients responded well to the assertive service provided by actively engaging them in healthy lifestyle discussions, linking them with other health services and assisting them with some reviews at these services. Improvements noted indicate that these type of projects need to be run over longer periods to notice significant/measurable change in patients health status.