Study will examine the efficiency of home-based psychiatric care for young people

Study will examine the efficiency of home-based psychiatric care for young people

17 May 2022

Study will examine the efficiency of home-based psychiatric care for young people


Orygen researchers have received AUD $300,000 from the HCF Research Foundation to better understand the impacts and effectiveness of a hospital-in-the-home (HiTH) model of care for young Victorians with severe mental ill-health.

The hospital-in-the-home model being examined was established by Orygen in partnership with the Royal Melbourne Hospital in late 2020 and provides 24/7 care that is equivalent to psychiatric impatient care, but provided within the young person’s home. Known as Orygen at Home, the program delivers daily in-home visits by qualified and skilled allied health clinicians, consultant psychiatrists and youth and family peer support staff.

Orygen’s Professor Sue Cotton, who will be leading the study, said Orygen at Home was the first youth-specific hospital-in-the-home model of its kind nationally, designed for young people with significant mental ill-health, such as psychosis, mood disorder, eating disorder, personality disorder with recurrent self-harm and acute suicide risk.

“Other hospital-in-the-home models in Australia have either focused on adult patients or those with less risk and lower illness severity,” Professor Cotton said.

“The rates and severity of mental ill-health among young people in Australia is growing, but youth mental health services are not keeping up with increased demand.

“In Victoria, there has not been an increase of youth-specific inpatient beds for over 20 years.”

Orygen’s in-person clinical services support young people aged 15-25 with severe mental illness who live in the north-west of metropolitan Melbourne.

“But our services are stretched and inadequate for what is needed in this region of Melbourne,” Professor Cotton said. “For young people this has resulted in delayed, inadequate, or no care being received, or inappropriate care in adult inpatient facilities.

“It was based on this unmet need for more services for young people with complex mental ill-health, and the need for alternative care models, that Orygen and the Royal Melbourne Hospital partnered to develop Orygen at Home,”she said.

“Hospital-in-the-home provides an alternative to a hospital inpatient admission. With this study we want to determine the safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Orygen at Home as a viable alternative model for inpatient psychiatric care for young people with severe mental-ill health.”