Mental health patients benefit from dedicated wellness clinic

Three women in front of a trolley with blood viles
General Practitioner Dr Linda Mutz, Nurse Practitioner Lucia Ferguson and Clinical Nurse Lisa Martin at the Fremantle Hospital Wellness Clinic
October 9, 2018

A unique wellness service for mental health patients at Fremantle Hospital has changed the lives of almost 400 people.

The Wellness Clinic is run by Nurse Practitioner Lucia Ferguson, alongside a General Practitioner and clinical nurse, who recognised there was an unmet need in the community.

“People with enduring mental illness have very high morbidity and mortality rates from physical health conditions as they don’t get screened, don’t intervene and don’t attend specialist services to the same extent as the general population,” Lucia said.

“We needed to create a service to address this disparity between patients with chronic and enduring mental illness who don’t access primary health care.

“The types of medication they use can also put them at high risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. They also tend to miss regular screenings so by the time problems are picked up they are usually more complex and more difficult to treat.

“This clinic has been life changing for our patients.”

Patients are referred to the Wellness Clinic from the Fremantle Community Mental Health Service. The clinic aims to engage patients with their physical health and ultimately link them with community primary care.

“As a Nurse Practitioner I am always looking for new, innovative ways to apply my skills and my area of speciality in mental health to an unmet need,” Lucia said.

“When the clinic started we were the first service in Australia providing a full range of primary care for these patients. It is something I am really proud of.

“The clinic has a real nursing ethos and holistic approach where we spend more time with our patients, look at lifestyle interventions and collaborate with families to get the best outcomes.”

The Wellness Clinic is a finalist in the 2018 WA Health Excellence Awards in the special category of the Mental Health Commissioner’s Award.

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