A Philosophy for Providing Care Differently

Opportunities, Have a Say / Get Active

LELAN and The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) have recently been Co-Design Partners with the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist (OCP), supporting their work to establish an Urgent Mental Health Care Centre (the Centre) in the Adelaide CBD. (We wrote about any earlier stage of this work here).


We convened a series of co-design sessions to explore what a new way of receiving/providing care could look like, particularly as an alternative to how emergency departments are currently accessed by people experiencing mental health distress and crisis. The intention was to discuss and design what a Philosophy of Care needed to say in order to inspire the experience we want people to have when they come to the Centre.


As a result, a Philosophy of Care document was created to guide the Centre’s design, implementation and oversight. We are now seeking your feedback so that the Philosophy of Care (DRAFT version below) can be finalised by the OCP and the foundation laid for reshaping mental health services across South Australia.



What a ‘Philosophy of Care’ is:


Philosophy of Care is a theory or attitude that acts as guiding principle’s for behaviour. It is being designed now in order to be a guiding light for the Centre; to ensure the care that people truly want and need in times of distress and crisis, when life is most challenged and frightening, is always provided. 

It is intended that the Philosophy of Care will underpin every aspect of the Centre and provide staff of the Centre a reference point when making all decisions; keeping them equally accountable and invested.



How the Philosophy of Care was co-created:


People with lived experience were involved in in the co-creation of the Philosophy of Care in a number of ways, these being:

     -> sharing insights through an expression of interest process that informed a presentation at an Industry Briefing attended by organisations interested in running the Centre

     -> participating in two co-design workshops

     -> participating in conversations on the LELAN Online Forum

     -> providing feedback on the DRAFT Philosophy of Care that us being shared here.


The Philosophy of Care is one small part in broader co-design stages that are required for the Centre and have recommended that co-design is embedded across all phases of its development, including: commissioning; service model development; implementation; governance and evaluation. People with lived experience have a vital role to play in each of these stages.



The intention of the Philosophy of Care:


We know that the Philosophy of Care reads differently to how services usually describe their approach. This has been intentional and is what TACSI and LELAN are proud to deliver.


This Philosophy of Care puts a focus back on the very real human experiences that people seek help for, because we know they make sense and it could be any one of us at any time that needs an extra bit of care and compassion. The Philosophy of Care is evolving a different care experience for people when they need it most.



Core elements of the DRAFT Philosophy of Care:


The Philosophy of Care is organised around six core theme areas that include a value statement and why it is important before then describing that value statement in action and what the outcome will be.

This looks like, We value _____ because _____. Therefore we want to see _____, and this means people will experience _____.


Key areas of the Philosophy of Care are: 

     -> WHO WE ARE: Culture, Roles and People

We value that people truly feel valued and respected by a team of staff who willingly embrace and comfort people and each other.


     -> OUR HEART: Lived Experience

We value the presence, inspiration, leadership and expertise of lived experience including the people who seek support and the peers who provide it, including carers.


     -> FEELING SAFE: Safety, not Surveillance

We value a Centre with a mental health specific focus that promotes safety for all with a commitment to de-escalation and wise decision-making practices (regarding security).


     -> WHAT WE SAY: Is ‘Care’Full

We value language and approaches that are connecting, compassionate and kind.


     -> OUR VALUES IN ACTION: Values-Driven Practice

We value a Centre committed to values driven practice, where all people matter and understanding experience is personal.


     -> EVERY MOMENT COUNTS: Leaving is a Crucial Step

We value genuine connection with peers and clinicians and linking people to what they need.



Access the DRAFT Philosophy of Care here and provide your feedback via HealthOCP@sa.gov.au before COB Friday May 29th.