Post-hospitalisation care for acute mental health patients in the ACT has been compromised by healthcare professionals failing to electronically record suicide vulnerability assessments in 38 per cent of cases, an audit by the territory’s auditor-general has found.
The “failure of practice”in the use of the MHAGIC system used by Canberra’s mental health professionals had affected the ability of health practitioners and carers to manage patients transition from acute to community care, Auditor-General Maxine Cooper claimed.
Patients discharged from mental health facilities following acute care are monitored for suicide vulnerability at three-monthly increments but assessments have only been conducted in about 62 per cent of cases, The Canberra Times reported.
Dr Cooper also claimed that GP consultations and clinical meetings about community care and treatment were drastically under-reported, and only one third of a random sample of records contained ‘recovery plans’.
The records were "repetitive, poorly structured and did not provide comprehensive information on the course of treatment, discharge and recovery planning”.
Canberra has 89 acute mental health care beds for the treatment of about 1000 people each year.
"Reliable and complete records of recovery planning are not available to be given to the person, their family or to other carers. Neither are they available to other staff or other support organisations to help in their care of the person, including after discharge from acute care,” Dr Cooper found.
She recommended a review into the system’s misuse.
ACT Health has said it will provide training, policies and procedures to support the implementation of a new MHAGIC system in November.