Maryborough mental health nurse unit manager Margaret Gilbert in front of the new nurses' station.
Maryborough mental health nurse unit manager Margaret Gilbert in front of the new nurses' station. Contributed

Mental health unit's $682,000 overhaul changes atmosphere

MARYBOROUGH Hospital's $682,000 mental health unit redevelopment has an emphasis on providing a family-friendly atmosphere with a focus on nature, fresh air and exercise.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service director Vicki Kilborn said numerous occupational therapy activities had been developed and were ongoing in the inpatient units.

"One consumer mentioned that the renovations made her feel valued and respected," she said.

"We look forward to serving the mental health needs of our community."

The overhauled unit has a new nurses' station and both high and low dependency areas, as well as two outside courtyards.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chairman Dominic Devine said the development was part of the mission to better meet the needs of all sections of the community.

"Mental health is an issue that affects many areas of the community and it's important to offer clients a safe and private place where they can be treated with the highest respect," he said.

Psychiatric registrar Mohammed Sabry said the changes were making a difference to patients.

"Patients are enjoying the outdoor environment," Dr Sabry said.

"They are already using it to chat together, play the guitar and sing and it's a place for family visits that is private and relaxing.

"Nursing staff can also catch up with patients outdoors in a peaceful, relaxing setting, which is sometimes a better option than in the wards."

Maryborough mental health nurse unit manager Margaret Gilbert said the renovations had changed the way the unit operated.

"There have been many positive comments on the changes to the nurses' station from a small overcrowded space to this colourful, fabulous open therapeutic workspace that has enhanced our working relationships with the patients, family and carers," she said.

"The two landscaped outdoor gardens have been welcomed by the patients, family and carers, giving them much-needed space to enjoy their visits. 

"Feedback from family and visitors shows they've been overwhelmingly surprised with the difference in the unit's atmosphere."

The work on the unit included the nurses' station, redevelopment of units and refurbishment of the high-dependency unit, along with increased security measures, including CCTV and appropriate access to control measures.