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Group support program making a difference for mental health in residential aged care homes

March 28, 2024

Lives Lived Well’s RACH Group Program is continuing to make a difference by supporting the older people in the region with their mental health and wellbeing.

The free program is available to individuals residing in residential aged care homes across the Darling Downs and West Moreton regions who either have a diagnosed mental health condition or are at-risk of developing mental ill-health.

The RACH Group Program came at a crucial time, with new research indicating that aged care residents are among the cohort of Australians with the highest risk of depression.

"Currently, around half of all aged care residents have substantial symptoms of depression," said psychologist Tanya Davison, the lead researcher of a new study, published by the government's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), into psychological therapies in aged care.

"That's about four times higher than the rate that we see in the general population of older people," said Ms Davidson (Kelsey-Sugg, Heggen, 2024).

The service, which has been made possible through funding from Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN, reflects the PHN’s commitment to ensuring that we support older people in our region to live well up to and including the end of life.

Below, a Group Facilitator shared their insights into the success of the support program during their facilitation of a wellbeing group in Toowoomba:

“Late last year, I completed a Wellbeing group at Ozcare Aged care Facility in Toowoomba. It was a small group with only three participants – all women. Throughout the six weeks, the participants attended diligently and began sharing with myself and each other. Each of the participants reported enjoying their time spent in the wellbeing group and further reported to practicing some of the skills they were learning.

Of this group, one of the participants, Dee (name changed for confidentiality), regularly commented that she looked forward to seeing me each week. As I received further referrals from Ozcare and I began completing consent and outcome measure documentation, it became apparent that Dee had been speaking to other residents on her floor and advising how the wellbeing group had been so beneficial for her and was encouraging others to attend.

Of the next 8 referrals received, Dee had spoken with at least half. On each occasion, the resident happily noted, “My friend told me how great you and the group were and I’m really looking forward to coming along.”

I felt like a regular superstar entering Ozcare as the residents already knew who I was and what I was doing there!”

Lives Lived Well will be visiting facilities in: Allora, Boonah, Brassall, Cherbourg, Chinchilla, Clifton, Crows Nest, Dalby, Gatton, Goondiwindi, Highfields, Inglewood, Ipswich, Jandowae, Killarney, Kingaroy, Laidley, Lowood, Miles, Millmerran, Murgon, Nanango, Oakey, Pittsworth, Rosewood, Stanthorpe, Tara, Taroom, Texas, Toogoolawah, Toowoomba, Warwick and Wondai.

To learn more about the RACH Group Program, call Lives Lived Well on 1300 101 149 or talk to your GP.