A MAJOR and overdue renovation has been finished inside one of Ipswich Hospital's most vital units.
Almost $2million was spent revamping the Acute Mental Health Unit, a 28-bed facility where limited refurbishment work has been undertaken for 20 years.
The unit has recently been at the centre of extreme bullying claims and the service says this planned renovation should be a contributing factor towards improving the work culture among staff.
Importantly, the renovations - which included a complete redesign of the nurses' station - have also improved conditions for patients, referred to as consumers.
Televisions have been fitted in the rooms. Patients were engaged throughout the renovation process to ensure their suggestions were taken on board.
The AMHU is a crucial service offered by West Moreton Hospital and Health Service.
Staff at the unit care for those with mental health issues in a similar way to doctors in the Intensive Care Unit caring for physically, critically ill patients.
The most sick people seek help from the staff and the work environment is often high stress and high pressure.
Mental Health clinical director Ankur Gupta said the AMHU is generally at about 80% capacity with about 23 patients inside the facility at any given time.
He said the renovations not only improved living and working conditions for both the staff and patients, but minimised risk.
All the security doors have been replaced.
The new nurses' station provides staff with better visual access to areas within the facility via windows and also with CCTV.
Mr Gupta said, anecdotally, staff were satisfied with the improvements.
Mental health peer worker Gisella Danesi said the bright colours, increased natural lighting and additional amenities had improved the mood, creating a more "homely" feeling for patients and increasing the feeling of safety.
"The consumers seemed more settled and relaxed," Ms Danesi said.
This is the first time major renovation undertaken inside the unit which opened in 1997.
During the 2016 hospital accreditation process, the nurses station and the High Dependency Unit - a four- bed facility within the AMHU - were identified as priority areas for refurbishment.
Extensive planning was undertaken to create an environment that supported rehabilitation through patient-centred care, but also improved conditions for patients.
The unit continued operation through construction which finished in June at a cost of about $1.824 million.
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