New behavioural management unit creates caring environment

“When you have a patient who’s very frightened and confused, you want to have an environment they feel safe in. This refurbished area achieves that.”

Clare Kendrick’s summation of the new Behavioural Management Unit added key feedback for the Westmead Redevelopment project team during a recent user group team walk-through.

It also offered validation that construction, design and amenities were on track to provide a new-world environment for the challenges faced by BMU staff.

“It’s calm, it’s warm, it’s inviting,” Clare said of the new nine-bed unit. “Hopefully that automatically de-escalates the feeling of fear.”

Clare said the unit’s calming effect was designed to settle patients down before staff became involved.

“They come in, get used to the new environment, de-escalate a little bit before we start to treat them in hope there’s a hands-off approach for 30 minutes or so,” she said.

“We haven’t had this type of department before so this is a completely different model of care.”

Previously, patients with dementia or delirium were placed in acute geriatric units that catered for all older people’s health care needs. A specialised unit will de-escalate this distressing experience by providing a safe environment for this increasing number of patients.

The acutely distressed patients with dementia or delirium often benefit from shorter hospital stays up to 72 hours, with a behaviour management plan. Once managed appropriately, the patient can be transferred into the acute care wards with a specialised plan from the BMU.