Back to accessibility links

Eloura CARES: Collaborate, Acknowledge, Respect, Empower, Strengthen

Shellharbour Hospital
Project Added:
30 November 2015
Last updated:
20 April 2021

Eloura CARES: Collaborate, Acknowledge, Respect, Empower, Strengthen


Shellharbour Hospital developed a model of care that provides engaging, therapeutic, recovery-orientated mental health services to consumers, their carers and families.

View a poster from the Centre for Healthcare Redesign graduation, December 2015.

Eloura CARES [poster]


To improve the consumer journey through the Eloura Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit and increase satisfaction and involvement with the service by 20%.


  • Delivers a patient-centred model of nursing care.
  • Improves the experience of consumers, carers and families.
  • Provides therapeutic, recovery-orientated mental health services.
  • Engages consumers and empowers them to be involved in care planning.

Project Status

Key dates

  • Project start: April 2015


Implementation - the initiative is ready for implementation, is currently being implemented, piloted or tested.


A root cause analysis of a serious incident in the Eloura Unit found that the incident had occurred in part because nursing care was ‘uncoordinated, lacking in structure and often reactive and fragmented’.

This prompted diagnostic activities that included consumer, carer and staff interviews, consumer journey mapping and incident reports. As a result, the following feedback was identified:

  • consumers and staff felt unsafe in the unit
  • consumers were bored with limited access to programs and activities
  • consumers perceived that there was limited access to medical staff
  • consumers perceived that there was a lack of interaction with nursing staff.

A solution was required to achieved the following objectives:

  • increase the experience of consumers, carers and families by 20%, as measured by the Your Experiences Survey (YES) and carer survey
  • improve consumer involvement, practical orientation, personal problem orientation and program clarity by 20%, as measured by the ward atmosphere scale.


  • A consumer safety poster was developed and displayed in the unit.
  • A scripted response to consumer concerns regarding incidents was developed for staff, with education to support its implementation in clinical practice.
  • Regular meetings were held with consumers, to discuss their concerns.
  • Equipment and materials including a barbeque and basketball hoop were purchased and installed, to support consumer activities.
  • An education package was developed to help staff in their therapeutic engagement with consumers.


  • The YES will be provided every six months during project implementation.
  • The Ward Atmosphere Scale was measured at project initiation and again prior to implementation. It will be measured every six months during project implementation.

Implementation site

Eloura Acute Mental Health Unit, Shellharbour Hospital

Lessons Learnt

  • The value and importance of listening to consumers, families and carers. The importance of understanding the concerns of staff about their workplace.
  • The value of the redesign process and the Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) principles for change.

Further Reading

Project Team

Tim Coombs, Robin Peters, Brad Boon and Sizwile Tshuma


Tim Coombs Director of Nursing
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District
Phone: 02 4295 2577

Search Projects

Browse Projects

Submit your local innovation
and improvement project