Eurella is a new model of care that helps people with severe and enduring mental illness avoid hospital.

Eurella: A Mental Health Community Based Hospital Alternative

December 2017

Eurella is a new model of care that helps people with severe and enduring mental illness avoid hospital.

Eurella is a new model of care that helps people with severe and enduring mental illness avoid hospital.

Located in Burwood, Eurella provides a safe environment where customers access intensive medical, psychological and social interventions in a residential setting.

It facilitates relapse prevention and recovery promotion to divert customers from hospitalisation (step up) as well as providing residential support services following discharge from hospital (step down).

Sydney Local Health District’s Director of Clinical Services, Mental Health, Dr Andrew McDonald, said Eurella could ease pressure on mental health inpatient units and help people recover faster.

“It provides a safe and supportive environment in the community for people facing acute mental health problems, by either avoiding hospital altogether or, where hospital care is necessary, stepping back into the community before returning home,” he said.

Eurella began taking customers in June 2017 and the first five months of the model have been successful with 40 people using the service.

A snapshot of a week in November showed nine of the 10 beds were occupied, with four step-up consumers and five step-down consumers.

The model is based on the prevention and recovery care model (PARC) model, which originated in Victoria and now forms the basis of service delivery for a number of facilities Australia wide.

Customers are aged between 16 and 64 and have a severe and enduring mental illness that requires a higher level of support than what can be provided from community mental health teams.

The Chief Executive Officer of New Horizons, Judi Higgin, said: “Eurella’s unique position is that it provides tailored, holistic support, combining the clinical and psychosocial care to help people recover as quickly as possible.

“This type of ‘step up, step down’ facility is a tried and tested model in Victoria. Opening this successful model in Sydney is a great addition to the existing support, and a real step forward for community-based models of care.”

Eurella is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is based on a mixed staffing model of residential support and peer support workers, overlaid with clinical nurse specialists and allied health workers and supplemented with psychiatrists.

The 10 single bedrooms accommodate both male and female consumers while a large kitchen, living areas, outdoor area and herb garden create a feeling of homeliness.

The average length of stay is seven to 14 days, with a maximum of 28 days.

“No two people are the same, so we can’t treat people experiencing mental health through a one-size-fits-all approach,” Ms Higgin said.

“Each person who stays at Eurella is treated as an individual and their care plan is specialised to their needs.”

The funding model for the project was developed by SLHD, New Horizons and NSW Health.

The service was officially opened by Dr Teresa Anderson, Chief Executive of SLHD and Ms Higgin on December 20, 2017.

The opening marks a significant achievement in the Better Pathways to Housing project, under the Healthy Strong Communities plan, which forms part of the Premier’s Service Delivery Reforms.

Eurella is founded on recovery-oriented mental health practice, which recognises that recovery is not necessarily about a cure, but is about having opportunities for choices and living a meaningful, satisfying and purposeful life, and being a valued member of the community.

It supports individuals to build on their strengths and take as much responsibility for their lives as they can.

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