Latest News 16 April 2019 | In the four months since Stage One of Counties Manukau Health’s Tiaho Mai Mental Health Unit was opened, staff report a positive change in service delivery.

In November 2018 Health Minister David Clark officially opened the new centre which increased capacity for acute inpatient mental health treatment at Counties Manukau.

The 38-bed capacity unit was developed within the grounds of the existing Middlemore Hospital site using a co-design approach, meaning service users themselves were able to contribute their ideas to the creation of the facility.

The new design incorporates natural light and space, with large rooms and corridors adding to the sense of spaciousness. A courtyard model helps improve safety and visibility within the Unit but also ensures everyone can access outdoor spaces and fresh air without needing fenced external areas.

Now, months later, planning has paid off and the careful design is achieving the improved care that was intended, say staff.

Mattias Fredell says feedback from service users has been positive, particularly because the new facility enables more autonomy for the service users.

“The bedrooms have worked really well, service users have their own toilet and can access the room by themselves without having to ask. It is in line with our model of care that aims to empower people,” Mr Fredell says.

Other staff have also noted improvement in other ways, including making admissions easier because of increased space.

“More options for safe assessment means more control of acute situations,” commented one clinical staff member.

“The space and openness is really something. The 24/7 courtyard, big corridors and Whaanau Lounge mean that family and children can move around more freely with less staff supervision. At the same time service users have the space to vent and express their feelings without seclusion,” says another team member.

Stage Two of the project has now been given the green light and planning is underway.

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