New program supports mental wellbeing for rehabilitation patients during COVID19

The University of Canberra Hospital’s Specialist Centre for Rehabilitation, Recovery and Research will launch a new program focused on patient mental wellbeing, while making use of innovative rehabilitation equipment funded through Canberra Hospital Foundation.

The new program, based in the Older Persons Units at the specialist rehabilitation hospital, will help maintain people’s mental wellbeing while enhancing their physical health. It will directly support people who spend lengthy periods of time in hospital or who are recovering from serious injury.

Director of Allied Health at University of Canberra Hospital (UCH) Todd Kaye said COVID-19 had impacted on people’s mental health and well-being, particularly for those in hospital, given restrictions on visitors and restrictions on travel were in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

“The new program fills the void created by limits on time with family and friends, providing a coordinated approach to improve the care experience for people” Mr Kaye said.

“Encouragement and support to get involved with special interest and social activities alongside functional rehabilitation will give people the best chance to recover mentally and physically.”

Canberra Hospital Foundation funded the program and the provision of new equipment using donations from the GIO Road to Recovery CTP campaign. ACT motorists who selected GIO as their Motor Accident Injury insurance provider when paying for registration have helped raise more than $70,000 towards this program. Through a partnership with GIO, the Foundation has since 2016 donated more than $400,000 in equipment and program support to assist Canberrans in their recovery.

The coronavirus pandemic highlights the value of organisations like Canberra Hospital Foundation and GIO being part of the response to unexpected emergencies. Their support helps health services in Canberra care for people in challenging times.

Foundation CEO Helen Falla said the new program at UCH was a strong example of how generosity can heal.

“Working with GIO and the compassion of their customers helps us to purchase specialist, leading edge equipment that greatly benefits patients during their road to recovery,” she said.

Ryley Batt OAM, Paralympic wheelchair rugby player, understands the importance of supporting mental wellbeing when facing obstacles in life.

“As the GIO Brand Ambassador, I’m proud that GIO has chosen to support the Canberra Hospital Foundation with this new mental health program. Through my Paralympic sporting career I have developed an understanding about how important it is to focus on your mental health to take on challenges that I have faced. I can see that the patients in this new program will be given great support and mental health skills as they recover and rehabilitate from their injuries,” Mr Batt said.

“As locals, we know the critical role the Foundation plays in the lives of Canberrans and those receiving medical treatment.” 

Read more about Canberra Hospital Foundation's partnership with GIO.