Te Awhina celebrates new facilities with official opening

31 January 2013
New Zealand’s director of Mental Health Dr John Crawshaw and Mental Health Commissioner Dr Lynne Lane will officially open Te Awhina’s new facilities at 2pm on Monday.
Clinical nurse manager Katheryn Butters says she’s delighted that several mental health leaders will travel to Whanganui to celebrate the acute mental health unit’s upgrade.
She looks forward to showing them the incorporated design ideas which are considered some of the most innovative applied to a New Zealand mental health facility.
Mrs Butters says the design process overall was long, detailed and very inclusive with input from service users, their families and Te Awhina staff.
“The team who led the $3.5m upgrade set out to create the best possible therapeutic environment we could for supporting the wellbeing and recovery of those receiving treatment in Te Awhina,” Mrs Butters says.
 “Now that we have an attractive, very practical building, Te Awhina has renewed its commitment to making sure people feel respected and cared for while receiving treatment here.”
“We believe Te Awhina has led the way nationally by providing service users with their own swipe access to their bedrooms and other areas within the building.
“Our new architecturally designed ensuite bathrooms and fixtures and fittings are helping to support the recovery process by maximising clients’ safety, independence and privacy.
“And we now have space that is able to be reconfigured into one or two-bedroom ‘self-contained’ units to meet people’s privacy and safety needs, as well as provide enhanced levels of care when required.”
Mrs Butters says it’s exciting and very satisfying knowing that both the new facility and Te Awhina’s innovative approach to mental health are attracting interest within the mental health sector.
“We’re very committed to making sure we have the right people, with the right qualifications and the right skills providing treatment and care. We want our staff to be very focused on the recovery of our clients.”
Mrs Butters says part of that effort involves gathering good quality data to help Te Awhina staff build an accurate picture of what they’re doing and how they can do better.”
As part of this effort, clients, staff and visitors have been asked to write down their thoughts about Te Awhina which staff evaluate to gauge how the unit is viewed and how it’s performing. Results to date have been very positive.