Baringa is a 15 bed, purpose-built Acute Aged Psychiatry Assessment Unit. It is part of Alfred Health, located at Caulfield Hospital.
What we do
Ongoing treatment and care considers each person in relation to their age, gender, religious, cultural, language and any other special needs.
We actively support and promote a recovery oriented approach to care for each individual. We encourage patient and carer participation in goal setting, treatment, care and recovery planning that supports effective discharge.
Baringa provides a comfortable and supportive environment with a mix of single and double rooms. The unit provides quiet areas for music and reading, a courtyard and activities area.
We offer a comprehensive, multi disciplinary service that includes:
Who we care for
Baringa provides psychiatric assessment, management and treatment for people usually (but not exclusively) over the age 65 who:
- are experiencing acute symptoms associated with mental illness, or
- who present with a range of behavioural problems associated with dementia that cannot be managed in a less restrictive environment and which require inpatient evaluation
What to expect
On admission nursing staff will provide an orientation to the unit and arrange for the doctor to attend. Liaison will occur between a person’s treating GP in the community, family members and our hospital staff.
Progress is closely monitored by the treating team. We maintain regular contact with the patient and family/carers throughout the admission and will arrange a family meeting to answer any questions, discuss treatment and plans for discharge.
A patient’s stay at Baringa continues for as long as inpatient treatment and support is needed. Baringa is a short-term facility, but lengths of stay can range between a few days to several weeks, depending on the needs of the person.
Discharge to home or a residential setting is planned and organised in conjunction with the patient and their family/carers. On discharge a person may be assigned a case manager from our community team to provide follow-up as required. If a person already has a case manager we encourage their input in discharge planning.
Commonly asked questions
Please feel free to visit between the hours of 11:00am and 8:00pm
Visiting outside of these hours can be arranged with the Nurse Manager or the nurse in charge of the shift.
We also encourage families to take this time as respite as the period leading up to admission may have left you feeling tired and anxious. Please feel free to discuss some strategies with the Baringa Carer Consultant on how to look after yourself.
Visitors are welcome to visit during mealtimes to encourage and assist patients to eat their meals. However, it is best if there is only one visitor at these times. If having a visitor present disrupts the patient while they are eating then visitors may be asked not to visit during mealtimes
If you wish to speak with the clinical team, please call Baringa on (03) 9076 6395.
Medical staff are generally available during business hours.
You are welcome to leave your number and the best time to return your call so that someone from the clinical team answers your questions as soon as possible.
There are often several family members involved in their relatives care. Could you please nominate one person to ring Baringa during your relative’s admission if updates are required, so that nominated person can provide the updates to other family members/friends.
If you are ringing to speak to your relative/friend please call the patient’s phone on (03) 9076 6692.
Your relative/friend will be admitted by a member of the nursing staff. Every day patients are allocated a nurse for that shift. She/he will be the one to ask for updates about your relative/friend.
There are two doctors allocated to the ward – they are the Psychiatric Registrar and the Medical Registrar both are in training in their specialty areas. They work together with the Consultant Psychiatrist.
Our patients are seen by a Registrar on admission to the ward and will see the Consultant Psychiatrist within 24 hours and at least weekly during admission.
Family meetings may be arranged by the treating team during your relative/friend’s admission to Baringa.
There is an Occupational Therapist and a Social Worker on Baringa. The Occupational Therapist is involved in daily therapeutic groups, one to one activities and assessments of daily living if required. The Social Worker’s role is to support your relative/friend and yourself during the hospital stay and help with discharge planning.
We also have access to Psychology, Neuropsychology and other health service providers as deemed necessary.
Your rights to information
Alfred Health believes that it is very important to include families and/or partners in the care of their relative and makes every effort to do so. However, sometimes a patient may request that the team does not divulge information about specific details to do with their treatment. As your relative has the right to medical confidentiality we make every attempt to respect their wishes. There are exceptions to this in that we must inform the family or partner if we are concerned that the patient is at imminent risk to themselves or someone else and that the primary carer has the right to know about their medical condition and treatment plan.
You are welcome to contact Baringa at any time to ask the clinical team about your relative or friend’s overall well-being. Where there are multiple relatives/friends one person is requested to be the first contact for Baringa, with the expectation that this person passes on information and communication relating to the patient.
It would also be helpful for the treating team to receive any information from you that you feel would contribute to their care.
Food safety is important.
Baringa provides three meals a day plus morning and afternoon tea and supper.
A range of meals are provided on request which cater to cultural and religious requirements. Families and visitors who choose to bring in food for patients are advised to follow the information provided to assist us with food safety. Baringa does not accept responsibility for food that is prepared outside of our facilty and provided to the patients by relatives/visitors.This includes non-disposable crockery and cutlery that accompanies food. More detailed information can be found in the patient information booklet or obtained from staff. Alcohol is not to be brought into the hospital. Please check with nursing staff prior to giving any food or drink you bring in.
Alfred Health has a smoke free policy.
Smoking is not allowed in the buildings or on the hospital grounds.
Lighters are not permitted to be kept by the patient and are required to be kept in a secure property room - please see staff.
You do not need to bring medications in unless specifically asked to do so by staff.
Patients must not have prescription medication or over the counter medication (such as Panadol or vitamin supplements).
Comfortable day clothes, night attire, safe footwear and personal toiletries.
We cannot take responsibility for valuable items kept by patients that are not secured in the staff station. It is advised that all items of value are kept at home.
It is preferable that these are not brought in as we cannot guarantee the security of these items on the ward and will not be liable.
If your relative/friend chooses to have these items on the ward please inform nursing staff who will document these items. No-one can be recorded (audio or video) without their permission and before checking with nursing staff.
No illicit substances are to be brought onto the ward.
These include illegal drugs (such as cannabis, opiates and certain types of stimulants), pharmaceutical drugs (such as pain-killers and tranquillisers) when used for non-medical purposes and other substances used inappropriately (such as inhalants).
The door exiting Baringa remains locked.
Some of our patients are unwell and require constant monitoring, so maintaining a secure environment is necessary. If a patient would like to have some leave with their relative/friend, please discuss this with the nursing staff.
The Occupational Therapist co-ordinates a variety of group sessions (such as exercise class, gardening, cooking, art, table tennis) and is assisted by nursing staff. There is also a weekly communication meeting. Individual occupational sessions may be organised to suit individual needs.
You should discuss any issues or concerns you may have with the nursing staff prior to leaving the unit.
On your return please ensure you give staff feedback on how the leave went. You should expect to come into the unit both prior to and after dropping off your relative/friend to ensure best communication with the staff and completion of the leave book.
When visiting your relative/friend please sign in and out at the staff station.
Baringa is a publicly funded service and all care is provided free of charge but your your relative/friend does have the choice to be admitted as a private patient in a public hospital.
Many patients who do have private health insurance opt to use their private health insurance for their stay at Baringa. There are no out-of-pocket expenses being admitted as a private patient and it helps to support Baringa to continue to improve services through payments received by the private health funds.
Please do not hesitate to speak with our staff should you wish to obtain more information. Private patients cannot be guaranteed private rooms or extra services.
Find out more about being a private patient.
Discharge time usually occurs in the morning but a suitable time can be arranged to suit individual needs.
Medical staff can issue you with a Carer’s Certificate.
Yes, you have the right to information about any treatment provided you are directly involved in your relative’s care. The pharmacist will discuss medications with you prior to discharge and medications can also be discussed with the treating team, with the patient’s consent.
The medical team will be happy to hear your concerns or queries about your relative/friend. You will be advised of the personnel, phone numbers and location where follow-up is to take place after discharge.
This depends on your relative/friend’s needs which may change over time. The treating team will discuss appointments, support networks and the discharge plan at the final meeting.
Alfred Health understands that admission of a relative/friend into Baringa can be a very stressful time.
To support you, the Carer Consultant is available to meet with you on Tuesday and Wednesday. She has the ‘lived experience’ of caring for a relative with mental ill health and can assist you with emotional, practical support and information.
Just ask the nursing staff or contact her directly on (03) 9076 6184.
How to access this service
Referral from your GP
Your doctor can call us to organise for you to access this service.
What to bring
Every time you come
- Medicare card
- Health Care Card and/or concession card (if you have one)
- Private health insurance card (if applicable/if you want to use it)
- Adverse drug alert card (if you have one)
- Previous x-ray films, scans, ultrasounds or any other test results or reports
- Medicines you need to take while you are here
- List of medicines you are currently taking (or the boxes), including medicines you have bought without a prescription, such as herbal supplements and vitamins
- Glasses, hearing aid, walking frame
For an overnight (or longer) stay
- Dressing gown and slippers, or comfortable day clothes and shoes
- Personal hygiene items, such as shampoo, shaving cream, shaver, toothpaste and deodorant
- Something to do, like a book, a magazine or an iPad/tablet with headphones
Don’t bring (for an overnight or longer stay)
- Your handbag, wallet, purse or large amounts of cash
- Valuables, such as jewellery or watches
ResourcesAll patient resources
Mental Health Australia
The peak, national non-government organisation representing and promoting the interests of the Australian mental health sector
Alfred Health - Mental Health Carer and Family Support Groups Brochure
Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
The IMHA supports people who are receiving compulsory mental health treatment to make decisions and have as much say as possible about their assessment, treatment and recovery.
Mental Health First Aid
First aid information and courses for mental health problems
Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia Inc
Information and support about psychosis or other mental illness for yourself or someone you care about