As part of the Shoalhaven Hospital's COVID-19 planning, the Sub Acute Mental Health Care Unit will be temporarily used as Special Health Accommodation (SHA).
The decision enables the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District's (ISLHD) ability to increase Acute Community Teams.
SHA is for COVID positive patients who need some care and support, but don't require the higher level care and is also for members of the community whose living arrangements make it hard for them to self-isolate at home.
The Sub Acute Mental Health Care Unit supports those in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven who are seeking help with a mental health condition and are in need of short term support to avoid hospitalisation after a mental health hospital stay. The unit has 20 beds.
CEO of the ISLHD Margot Mains said the acute mental health services remain in place and have not been impacted by COVID.
"The Shoalhaven Hospital's Sub Acute Mental Health Care Unit will be temporarily used as Special Health Accommodation as part of our COVID-19 management," said Ms Mains.
"We are also consulting with private mental health facilities to boost capacity if required as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic."
There are two COVID-19 positive patients being treated at the Shoalhaven Hospital.
Ms Mains also confirmed there is a comprehensive surge plan in place for the Shoalhaven Hospital that has been in development since the start of the pandemic.
"For Shoalhaven Hospital, a dedicated COVID ICU ward and a dedicated Medical Respiratory COVID ward have been established to serve the potential needs of the community," said Ms Mains.
"The district has increased the capacity of our community teams to ensure care can be provided to people needing support in their homes by virtual care, or face to face where required and safe to do so."
Ms Mains also confirmed the ISLHD has esablished a range of additional mental health support services including: disaster recovery coordinators, a dedicated disaster recovery clinician in the Shoalhaven, increased clinical staff in community mental health teams, employed additional peer workers and more.
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