The Wellness Centre at the St John of God Richmond Hospital, the first stage of the hospital’s $65 million redevelopment, was officially unveiled on Veteran’s Day with a special service.
Patron Sir Peter Cosgrove spoke at the landmark ceremony which was attended by over 100 people including, veterans, staff, and local civic leaders.
The wellness centre at North Richmond contains a new gym; a group room for yoga, meditation and meetings; exercise physiology treatment rooms and a large indoor swimming pool with shower facilities.
St John of God Richmond Hospital Chief Executive Officer, Colman O’Driscoll, said it will transform the way care is provided and represents the first class standard of care that veterans and first responders deserve.
“We need to be giving these people, who dedicate their lives to the service of others, every opportunity for recovery and rehabilitation when they are suffering as a result of that service.We are providing crucial interventions here and looking at exercise as medicine in the treatment of mental health conditions. Reconnecting people with physical activity in new ways, or for the first time, creates important patterns that support recovery.”
On admission to the St John of God hospital, 70% of military veterans and 85% of first responders are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“We know exercise impacts PTSD, addiction and anxiety in a positive way, with research showing that forming healthy new habits is effective in reducing symptoms.”
Professor Zach Steel, Chair of Trauma, St John of God Health Care, said the wellness centre was one of the best he had ever seen in Australia.
“People often forget about the horrendous impact that conditions like PTSD can have on the physical health of those affected by this injury. Research has confirmed that not only is there an overall reduction in life expectancy but also increased rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and a range of other preventable conditions in those who suffer PTSD.
“It is essential, therefore, that treatment programs focus on the whole person. We were one of the first to carry out trials on the effect of exercise in PTSD treatment and now St John of God has placed both physical and mental wellbeing at the heart of our programs with the opening of this new centre.”
Mr O’Driscoll said the next milestone of the Richmond redevelopment, to be opened in late October, would include 112 private rooms. The historic Belmont House, built in 1892, will remain a prominent and treasured feature of the new design.