QI In Action: A new residential model of care to treat eating disorders in Australia.

What makes an exceptional QI Award submission? Read this exemplar project submission by QI Award Winner 2022, Wandi Nerida to learn more.

With the Quality Improvement (QI) Awards 2023 deadline fast approaching, we wanted to highlight some of our past exemplary winning submissions to help inspire your own entries. Please see below the 2022 Winning Submission for the Category ‘Clinical Excellence and Patient Safety Winner’.  

To find out more about the awards, see all past winners, and learn how to apply click here.  

‘Wandi Nerida: A new residential model of care to treat eating disorders in Australia’. 

Guided by ACHS principles of consumer focus, effective leadership, continuous improvement, outcomes and striving for best practice, Wandi Nerida’s initiative on establishing and operating a new residential model of care to treat people affected by eating disorders provides a case in point for exceptional patient centred care delivery.  

Wandi Nerida’s approach to patient care is one of a kind in Australia. As the nation’s first residential recovery centre for people affected by eating disorders, their vision “to help make recovery a reality,” underpins their innovative model of care.   

Wandi Nerida addresses a complex issue. With over one million Australians affected by an eating disorder (Butterfly Foundation, 2022) and less than one in four people (23.2 percent) seeking professional help (Hay et al, 2015), addressing this issue remains paramount. Stigma and shame are the most frequently identified barriers for accessing treatment. Eating disorders are treatable illnesses, and person-centered care, tailored to suit the person’s illness, situation and needs, is the most effective way to treat someone with an eating disorder (Hay et al, 2014).  

Project Summary – Innovative approaches to care  

Prior to the opening of Wandi Nerida, residential options were only available to Australians that could afford to travel to the United States or Europe to self-pay for care. Wandi Nerida intended to provide equity to all Australians. With the support of the federal government and philanthropists, the Butterfly Foundation set up a Bursary program that allowed people that were socio-economically disadvantaged to apply for support to cover the private hospital costs at Wandi Nerida.  

Wandi Nerida’s facility is a purpose built, multidisciplinary staffed residence that allow patients to be immersed in a home like setting.  In addition to providing a safe and healing environment for those in need of physical and psychological care, Wandi Nerida is an important pilot project for future eating disorder treatment models in Australia. The new innovative model of care, B-FREEDT MoC© provides a phased treatment structure to address not only symptoms and behaviours, but the underlying perpetuating psychological factors. It is a treatment model that is unique not only to Australia, but internationally as well.  

Wandi Nerida continues to be the learning base for continuous improvement not only for itself but all the other residentials in development around the country. Some key features of its model of care are highlighted below:   

  • Holistic evidence-based treatment model in a natural Australian bushland setting  
  • High staff-participant ratio to maximize support, and a program that runs 7 days a week from 8-8pm.  
  • The importance of the social milieu and lived experience  
  • Focus on developing increased autonomy with objective measures of progress that is participant centered  
  • A home like setting that has hands on food preparation experience  
  • The importance of choice (motivation) around food and eating.  
Innovations in care delivery are also central to what makes Wandi Nerida’s initiative exceptional.    

As part of the model of care and progression through phased treatment discharging participants undergo a graduation ceremony where the individual, all staff, family are invited to reflect and comment on the individual’s journey. Moreover, post discharge participants are invited to stay connected through a private social media page and return to Wandi Nerida annually to celebrate and renew recovery.  

In addition, currently 35% of staff employed at the facility have lived experience and support participants not only through clinical care but also challenging daily activities like meals or group attendance.  

The unique home-like environment aims to support clients envision recovery when they are back in their own homes. This environment allows them an opportunity for hands-on experiences such as portioning food and preparing meals as well as sitting at a family table. These are just some examples of innovation and best practice at Wandi Nerida  

If your organisation has implemented a quality initiative within the last 2 years, we strongly encourage you to apply for this year’s Awards.   

The Awards provide an opportunity to share patient-focused innovation and communicate their quality improvement achievements to the healthcare industry. Apply now and get national recognition for your improvement initiatives.    
Submissions close on Friday, 8 September 2023 at 5pm (AEST).