Maree: Braeside Hospital's team goes above and beyond
A few years after Maree moved house to be close to her family in Sydney’s west, they began to feel uneasy about the sudden appearance of some unusual behaviours.
She had become reclusive, and had started arguing with her neighbours with whom she had previously got along well.
The family was close, and it was clear there was a problem, but they were uncomfortable to talk to Maree about their concerns regarding her mental health, and unsure how to access assistance.
Within the next 12 months, Maree’s behaviour became increasingly erratic. She began ringing the police regularly to accuse her neighbours of spying on her, and started blocking the drains around her home, worried that her neighbours were a threat.
She had stopped visiting her doctor, taking her blood pressure medication and was losing weight. When Maree moved into just one room because of the ‘electrical forces’ in the house, her family insisted that she come with them to see her doctor.
The doctor made a referral to Braeside Hospital’s Specialist Mental Health Services for Older People. A community team consisting of a psychiatrist, nurse and health interpreter visited Maree at home, along with Maree’s daughter.
Maree, confused and fearful, was initially reluctant to allow them in the home, but they took the time to win her trust and were eventually able to spend some time with Maree. Along with careful investigations and medical history from her doctor, an initial assessment of major depression was made, with accompanying mental health issues, along with malnourishment.
The Braeside team’s first goal was to manage Maree’s condition at home and to work with her doctor to prescribe necessary medications and other supports.
When Maree’s difficulties persisted, with support from her family Maree agreed to a voluntary admission to Braeside Hospital. Once in care, her condition was stabilised, medications confirmed and other support was provided by the multi-disciplinary team of medical staff, nurses and allied health professionals.
Supports were put in place for her to return home, including visits from the community arm of Braeside’s older people’s mental health team and links to a community group from Maree’s cultural background.
Maree was also introduced to the friendship group which meets at Braeside twice a week and came to enjoy this new social outlet, while maintaining contact with Braeside’s caring staff. It’s a delight for Maree’s family that she is now comfortable, back in her home, and once again enjoying their visits. And she continues to benefit from the vital support and increased network that will continue to care for her.