When David Bosanquet arrived at the Mental Health Inpatient Unit at Mackay Base Hospital, he had nothing but the clothes on his back.
“I came with just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and I was worried about being dirty. I had absolutely nothing,” he said.
David’s story is a common one with many patients arriving with no clothes or shoes and without family or supports around them to be able to obtain clothing during their stay.
Mackay Base Hospital and Community Mental Health staff have rallied together and donated their own clothes to provide to consumers in need. The donated clothes are kept in J’s Wardrobe at the Mental Health Inpatient Unit, which consumers can access during their stay.
Since opening, J’s Wardrobe has been fitted out with a full-length mirror, clothing racks and shelves just like any other walk in wardrobe.
J’s Wardrobe was named by consumers and staff as the mental health inpatient unit is located in J Block at Mackay Base Hospital.
Mr Bosanquet couldn’t wipe the smile off his face when describing the feeling of having access to clean, nice clothes in his size.
“Well it’s a huge mental thing and it is excellent to be able to have a shower and slip into nice, clean clothes,” he said.
“We’ve also got access to the washing machine and dryer so we can run everything through and you’re ready to go again.”
Mackay Base Hospital Senior Mental Health Clinician Lauren McEnery said J’s Wardrobe had a huge impact on the patient experience.
“The wardrobe provides an opportunity for our consumers to obtain dignity and respect when coming into the inpatient unit,” she said.
“It also shows patients compassion and a recovery orientated approach because they are able to wear clothes they feel comfortable in, rather than having to wear hospital gowns.
“It really changes the environment from a hospital ward to a more community environment.
“One patient became tearful and overwhelmed when she was provided with several sets of clothing. Like David, she really appreciated the opportunity to be able to choose what she liked.”
The idea for J’s Wardrobe came from a nurse at Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital and was passed on by a former Mackay Base Hospital staff member. Clothes have been donated by staff from multiple units across Mackay Base Hospital and Community Mental Health. The donated clothes go through a rigorous process of cleaning and checking by staff before they are put into the wardrobe. At this point the Mental Health Inpatient Unit is only seeking donations from staff but will update the community if that changes.