Concord Repatriation General Hospital Artist Impression
Since 2014 Soldier On has been working with Concord Repatriation General Hospital (CRGH) in developing Australia’s first, world class facility to provide integrated, holistic, and cutting-edge specialist services for Australia’s Defence and national security personnel. Compared to other nations, Australia is behind when it comes to holistic care for service personnel and their families. The joint facility will change that and will prevent so many individuals from falling through the gaps.
Providing Patient Centred Care
The Michael Fussell Centre of Excellence will work in conjunction with CRGH and will provide a patient centric care model to serving and ex-serving personnel, and their families. On-site accommodation will be available for families to join their loved ones while they receive this critical clinical support through CRGH. Soldier On will provide support and services to the family.
The development of this centre has been influenced by proven overseas models including:
- Walter Reed Military Medical Hospital and its Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and PTSD facility – US
- National Intrepid Centre for Excellence and Fisher House – US
- Headley Court- UK
- Tedworth House – UK
- Beit HalochemBe’erSheva – Israel
Together CRGH and the Michael Fussell Centre of Excellence will provide clinical support (led by CRGH) and greater psychosocial programs (led by Soldier On). These will include, but are not limited to, early intervention, substance treatments and counselling, psychological support, substance and alcohol misuse programs, family mental health support, social connectedness programs, and employment and education programs. Most importantly, families will be connected to appropriate services back in their home towns and provided ongoing support through Soldier On.
This centre will also have the capability to effectively provide support for those suffering from Traumatic Brain Injuries to access a multidisciplinary team of specialist experts, the first of its kind in Australia.
Soldier On have already been providing services from a separate facility at Concord for two years, scaling up for the finalisation of this centre of excellence and accommodation. The centre will be truly national, with service personnel and family members from all around Australia being able to stay.
Concord Hospital Interior Artist Impression
Why this centre is so important?
Through the recent mental health and wellbeing transition study – “Transition and Wellbeing Research program – Mental Health Prevalence” found that 46% of transitioned ADF personnel suffer from a mental health condition within the first 12 months after service. The study also showed that rates of mental health disorders increased year on year. Over half of the 46% have multiple conditions (such as anxiety and alcohol consumption) and alarmingly, 75% of transitioned personnel report a mental health condition within their lifetime. The effects that these statistics have on the entire family are astronomical. In fact, the report also states that the number one reason for people separating from the military is due to the impacts that service life has on the family. It is without question that greater support must be made available to service personnel and their families, both during service and post transition. This support must be all encompassing, including clinical, psychological, and psychosocial services, and it must be delivered for the entire family.
In many instances, when a serving or ex-serving member is impacted, the family is often forgotten, the support is short-term, or it is minimal. The accommodation and services that Soldier On will provide on-site allows families to stay together and, in many ways, be treated and rehabilitated together.
The Walter Reed Military Medical Hospital in the United States has demonstrated the positive socioemotional and psychosocial impacts on all members of the family by having them involved in the care and support of their loved one.
The participation of family is critical to recovery and strengthening family ties, and resilience provides the foundation for meaningful community and employment connections.
Service personnel overwhelmingly prefer family members involved in their treatments, and partners who often bear the burden of supporting and caring for an injured service member deserve access to appropriate supports for themselves.
Family Lounge Artist Impression
Specially designed and fitted out, two floors of an adjacent building to the Hospital will be able to accommodate approximately 40 people. The design will support private and shared spaces, promoting the strengthening of internal family bonds and the creation of bonds with others experiencing similar circumstances.
Family Room Artist Impression
Families will be able to access social engagement programs, whilst also accessing mental health services they may need to effectively respond and support their loved one.
Studio Room Artist Impression
The Concord and Soldier On Story
In coming together, CRGH and Soldier On are acknowledging the critical role they each play in supporting serving men and women and their families to regain their health, wellbeing, and build successful futures. The creation of a seamless, integrated, and comprehensive model of care that is patient centred, agile, and responsive reflects the innovative approaches of both institutions.
Where to now?
Concord Hospital and Soldier On have philanthropic, corporate, and NSW Government support for this facility. We are hoping that Federal Government will see the value and also provide some financial support. This unfortunately was not achieved in the 2018 Budget.
The residential accommodation is planned for opening in October 2018, with the full centre opening in 2020. We are asking the public to support us in ensuring this facility is completed and that the men and women who have served our nation, and the families who have stood by them, are provided with the care they deserve.
Like many other nations, Australia was not ready to support those who were wounded in our most recent wars, especially Afghanistan. This facility would have been extremely beneficial during that time, and it remains critical now. There are so many out there who need support and we must face the reality that any war produces casualties. This is a way to ensure those of our recent, current, and future conflicts get the world’s best possible support.
There is no doubt that this facility will save lives.