Lavender Mother and Baby Unit within Gold Coast Health is a finalist for Outstanding Organisation in the 2020 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards. Gold Coast Health is located in Southport, QLD.
Gold Coast Health has been recognised for its work to improve maternal mental health care and support for new mothers and their babies. Gold Coast Health opened a state-wide public service in March 2017 that caters for women with severe mental illness and their infants younger than one year old. The Lavender Mother and Baby Unit (MBU), as Queensland’s first and only public mother-baby unit, strives to be a beacon of perinatal excellence, aims to improve maternal mental health, helps develop favourable mother-baby relationships and parenting skills, and supports mothers in their daily routine.
Treatment is multidisciplinary and varied. Interactive group and individual sessions are provided to the mothers and babies, such as infant massage groups, sensory modulation sessions and cooking classes, conducted by medical, allied health and nursing staff. Gold Coast Health has also fostered a culture of continuous improvement and innovation through the Lavender MBU. The team behind the service has seen the creation of resources such as a sensory modulation workbook, wellbeing handouts and play activities for babies, and has recently been awarded a grant to transform its courtyard into a ‘sensory garden’ to improve therapeutic outcomes for patients. The Lavender MBU also hosted its first Perinatal Mental Health Symposium, attended by more than 215 clinicians, peer support workers, consumers and students from across the state to improve perinatal mental health skills.
The Lavender MBU has admitted more than 150 mothers and has seen significant improvement in the quality of mother-infant interactions and postpartum bonding, with new mothers showing increased parenting confidence and less psychological distress.