11. Inpatient Services for Children and Youth

The Chief Psychiatrist has a major role in oversighting the treatment of children under the Mental Health Act 2013.Tasmania does not have a dedicated Child and Adolescent Mental Health inpatient unit. In the light of this mental health care to children and young people under the age of 18 is provided in the community wherever possible. Where the clinical situation is such that inpatient care is seen as the most appropriate form of care, the preferred option is to provide mental health care and support on the paediatric wards. There are situations in which the most appropriate form of treatment for young people is for them to be nursed one to one in an adult mental health unit until it becomes clinically appropriate to treat the young person either on a paediatric ward or back in the community.

Table 16: Children and Youth Separations from Mental Health Inpatient Wards from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015

Age

Northside

Spencer

DOP

PICU

Female <18

2

3

2

0

Male <18

6

3

8

0

Total <18

8

6

10

0

Total Separations

631

378

986

107

% of Separations <18

1.27%

1.59%

1.01%

0.00%

15 years

2

0

0

0

16 years

0

3

0

0

17 years

6

3

10

0

The small numbers of children and youths admitted to a mental health inpatient ward reflects the efforts of clinicians to ensure that this group of patients are treated in the least restrictive environment possible.

Admission to a mental health ward for this group of young people is only undertaken in situations where the behaviour of the young person is such that there is a high risk of harm to themselves or others if admitted to a non-mental health inpatient ward.

Ongoing assessment and treatment of the young person is continuous, with regular evaluation of the need for detention of the young person in the mental health unit.

Table 17: Children and Youth with a Primary Mental Health Diagnosis Discharged from non-Mental Health Inpatient Wards from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015

Age

LGH Paediatric Ward

NWRH Paediatric Ward

RHH Paediatric Ward

RHH Paediatric Ambulatory (Out-Patient Clinics)

Other

TOTAL

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

1

2

0

0

1

0

3

2

1

1

0

2

0

4

3

0

0

0

4

1

5

4

0

0

1

2

1

4

5

0

0

1

2

0

3

6

2

0

0

1

0

3

7

1

1

0

1

0

3

9

4

0

0

0

0

4

10

5

0

0

0

0

5

11

3

0

3

0

1

7

12

1

0

7

1

2

11

13

5

1

7

1

2

16

14

12

3

14

4

4

37

15

7

0

13

2

2

24

16

6

2

18

6

7

39

17

10

0

17

1

3

31

TOTAL

59

8

82

28

23

200

Wherever possible, and where clinically appropriate, children are admitted to a paediatric unit rather than a designated mental health unit. In such a unit, highly skilled staff are able to ensure a high level of age-appropriate care and treatment.