Collaborative care for older people with mental health issues

Date produced 09 May 2012

Maurice, an elderly widower has been discharged from hospital following a recent fall at home. The hospital visit has uncovered multiple medical and mental health issues. The interdisciplinary panel explore potential referral pathways and ways to work together to deliver effective collaborative care for Maurice.

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Learning outcomes

By watching this webinar recording you will be better equipped to:

  • recognise the key issues in the assessment of older people experiencing possible mental illness
  • recognise the key principles of intervention and the roles of different disciplines in treating, managing and supporting older people experiencing mental health issues as well as functional issues
  • understand the merits, challenges and opportunities in providing collaborative care to older people with mental health issues.


Dr Michael Murray
Qualifications: MBBCh, Member of Australian College of Psychological Medicine
Profession: GP and Medical Educator
Based in: Townsville, QLD

Dr Michael Murray is a Townsville based GP currently providing medical education with Tropical Medical Training: General Practice Specialists. He also works at Headspace, Townsville.

Michael has worked for over 25 years as a GP in both rural and metropolitan practice and in indigenous health; his clinical expertise is in psychological medicine.

As the Mental Health Professionals Network’s (MHPN) main webinar facilitator, Dr Michael Murray knows as well as anyone the power of integrated communication. And as a career-long regional and rural doctor, he is profoundly aware of the isolation and restrictions to learning that GPs in the far corners of Australia endure.

He examined the prospects for online learning, especially in regional, rural and remote settings in an interview in August 2012:


  • Julianne Whyte
    Profession: Social worker
    Based in: NSW

    Julianne Whyte has worked extensively as a Nurse and an accredited Clinical Mental Health Social Worker across the Riverina for the past 30 years. Some of her roles have been developing initiatives and support for carers, providing social work interventions for people living with a life limiting illness and requiring palliative care, and also researching rural models of care planning for people living with life limiting and terminal illness.

    Julianne founded the Amaranth Foundation in 2009,and has established outreach mental health social work clinics across the Riverina. She is an executive and active member of Oncology Social Work Australia, holding the education and palliative care chairs.

    She is working towards obtaining her PhD in developing advanced Competency Standards for Social Workers in Palliative and End of Life Care. 


  • Nancy Pachana
    Qualifications: Ph.D., FAPS
    Profession: Psychologist
    Based in: QLD
    Dr Nancy Pachana is a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist with extensive clinical experience in assessing and treating older adults. She is currently a professor in the School of Psychology at UQ. Her main research interests include anxiety in later life, early assessment of dementia and driving safety and dementia.
    Nancy is the National Convener of the Australian Psychological Society's Psychology and Ageing Interest Group, dedicated to furthering research and public policy relating to older adults in Australia. She has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and books on various topics in the field of ageing. 


  • Dr Roderick McKay
    Profession: Psychiatrist
    Based in: NSW

    Dr Roderick McKay is a psychiatrist who works with older people. His clinical career has focussed on working with people in the south west of Sydney in community, residential care and inpatient settings.

    He is a:

    • Senior Staff Specialist, South Western Sydney LHD; Clinical Advisor to the NSW Older People's Mental Health Policy Unit
    • conjoint senior lecturer, University of NSW
    • current bi-national Chair of the Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Participants of the webinar provided the following feedback:

Learning needs

99% of respondents indicated their needs were ‘entirely met’ or ‘partially met’.

Relevance to practice

97% stated the webinar was ‘entirely relevant’ or ‘partially relevant’ to their practice.

Practice change

84% of respondents intend to make changes to their clinical work practice as a result of attending the webinar.

This webinar was produced in May 2012. The Mental Health Professionals’ Network’s webinars are produced for mental health professionals. The information is intended for suitably-experienced mental health professionals and does not replace clinical judgement and decision making. It is intended for use as a guide of a general nature only and may or may not be relevant to particular patients or circumstances. The subject matter is not exhaustive of any mental health conditions presented. Health professionals implementing any recommendations contained in the webinar must exercise their own independent skill or judgement or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular circumstances when so doing. Any information presented in the webinar recording was deemed relevant at the time of the live event and after this date has not been reviewed. No guarantee can be given that the information is free from error or omission.

Accordingly, MHPN and its employees and agents shall have no liability (including without limitation liability by reason of negligence) to any users of the information contained in any MHPN webinar for any loss or damage (consequential or otherwise) cost or expense incurred or arising by reason of any person using or relying on the information contained in MHPN webinars and whether caused by reason of any error, negligent act, omission or misrepresentation of the information.