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Rehab unit edges closer

Saturday, 2nd November, 2013

Sub-Acute Rehabilitation Unit Nurse Unit Manager, Eureka Van Der Merwe, leads a tour of the building at the open day yesterday.PICTURE: Darrin Manuel Sub-Acute Rehabilitation Unit Nurse Unit Manager, Eureka Van Der Merwe, leads a tour of the building at the open day yesterday.PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By By Erica Visser

The Broken Hill Health Service sub-acute rehabilitation ward will finally open its doors later this month.

The 10-bed unit has been subject to several delays, most of which were put down to the collapse of the National Buildplan Group which still owes money to local contractors.

Yesterday staff showed the public around the $6.9 million building at an “open day” ahead of next week’s orientation.

The spacious ward is designed to feel homely, with living room and kitchen areas and a laundry that patients would be encouraged to use.

It also features a gym for rehabilitation that includes weights, exercise machines and even a Nintendo Wii gaming console.

A teleconferencing and video room is also included, as are public toilets.

Hospital General Manager, Nigel Carlton, that there was a great need for the government-funded rehab unit as it would allow people to recover in an appropriate setting.

It also means that people who have suffered injuries or a stroke would not have to go to Adelaide, away from their families.

The unit was built with Council of Australian Governments (COAG) funding, as was the recently-opened mental health unit in the hospital grounds.

“This area is a bit more clinical than the Mental Health Recovery Centre but the intent is to rebuild both strength and skills in a homely environment closer to the patients’ families,” Mr Carlton said.

He said that the time patients spent at the unit would vary but could be anywhere from two weeks to eight weeks or longer.

“It will vary depending on the patient. Some will have had a hip replacement or shoulder replacement, some may be people who have had a stroke.”

Nurse Unit Manager, Eureka Van Der Merwe, gave members of the public a tour of the building during yesterday’s open day.

“The idea is that (patients) will be encouraged to get up and start their day as they would at home, with breakfast and a cup of tea in the kitchen area,” Ms Van Der Merwe said.

“There’s the living room here so they can socialise and form part of a group and certainly not be sitting in their rooms all day.”

The living room, with lime green and orange chairs, overlooks the outdoor area where patients can water the garden or sit outside.

Two of the 10 rooms are set up for bariatric patients, with larger furniture and a ceiling hoist to help staff move patients from their beds to the bathroom, much in the manner of a Flying Fox.

One of the unit’s staff, Patient Services Assistant (PSA) Lauren Visser, said she was “thrilled” to be at the open day and was looking forward to welcoming patients on November 11.

“It’s very exciting. We’ve been working hard to get the unit up to this standard for six months,” Ms Visser said.

“It’s really good to finally see it finished and at the point where patients will be able to utilise the rooms.”

Ms Visser is one of three PSAs who join a team of staff including nurses, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, speech pathologist, social worker, dietitian, nutrition assistant and allied health assistants. 

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