Academic Child Psychiatry Unit

Services

  • What can the ACPU offer?
    Who can be referred?
    How can the service be accessed?
    What is the appointment/assessment process?
    How will the results be summarised?

    What can the ACPU offer?

    The Academic Child Psychiatry Unit (ACPU) is able to provide a comprehensive assessment of the following difficulties in children and adolescents:

    • oppositional defiant problems
    • conduct problems
    • attentional difficulties
    • motor drivenness
    • impulsiveness
    • anxiety difficulties
    • depressive difficulties
    • autistic spectrum disorder problems
    • early-onset psychotic symptoms

    For young people where there is a diagnostic clarification issue or who have been through one or more psychological and/or medical treatment regimens and who remain treatment non-responsive, referral to the ACPU may be a useful resource.

    All the information collected will be fed back to young people and their families.  With the prior consent of the parent(s) this information, in number form, will be kept in our clinical research electronic record.  Ongoing advice about particular medication and/or psychological treatments and the monitoring of these treatments is available. 

    For further information about what the ACPU can offer please see the section About ACPU.

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    Who can be referred?

    The Academic Child Psychiatry Unit (ACPU) is a statewide clinical research unit for children and adolescents.  

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    How can the service be accessed?

    A letter of referral from a doctor is required (eg. General Practitioner, Paediatrician or another medical specialist).  Referral letters should be addressed to Prof Alasdair Vance, and can be faxed, emailed or mailed to our office (refer to the section Contact Us).  Once a referral is received, it will be reviewed and then family will be contacted to arrange an appointment.  Other professionals involved the patient’s care such as psychologists, school welfare workers, social workers, etc, may provide a separate letter/report if they wish.

    All appointments will be bulk billed through medicare and the proceeds placed in an ACPU cost centre to assist the running of the ACPU. 

    For patients who are currently being seen at one of the RCH - Mental Health Community Teams, the Clinician/Case Manager can initiate a referral by completing an ACPU referral form or by writing a letter.  The family will then be contacted to arrange an appointment. 

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    What is the appointment/assessment process?

    Once a referral is received, the family will be contacted to arrange an initial appointment.  The first visit will be a discussion-based consultation with Prof Alasdair Vance, or a psychiatry registrar/fellow.   For children six years of age and older, a full standardized assessment process may be offered.   This assessment will be conducted by an ACPU clinical research assistant.  It will be a comprehensive all-day assessment that will take approximately 3 to 5 hours to complete, plus a break for lunch. 

    There will be a thorough clinical assessment of symptoms from child, parent and teacher perspectives, cognitive ability, educational ability, biological and psychological strengths and weaknesses, parental symptoms associated with managing their child and family functioning.  Some parts of the assessment will involve both the parent and the child and other parts will only require the child to be present (eg. parent and child interviews are conducted separately in order to obtain a separate account of symptoms). 

    At the conclusion of an assessment, a date/time for feedback session will be arranged.  This feedback session will be with Prof Alasdair Vance, or a psychiatry registrar/fellow, and will involve discussion about the assessment results.  In addition, advice about particular medication and/or psychological treatment and the monitoring of these treatments will be discussed.   Then, a letter or email will summarise the assessment findings/results and recommendations, and will be sent to the legal guardian/carer as well as the referring doctor and/or case manager/clinician. This letter or email will include key strengths and weaknesses and an ongoing priority treatment plan will be offered.  If a more detailed clinical report is required by the legal guardian/carer this can be requested by contacting our office.   To help determine what further information would be most helpful, an appointment will be arranged - this can either be a face to face meeting or a phone discussion.  In addition, each child can be reviewed regularly (as required) and/or an annual basis. 

    As part of the research functions of the ACPU, the assessment information (with the parent’s prior consent) will be collected and kept in number form in our clinical research electronic record.

    For more information about the assessment tools used, please see the section Key Clinics and Standardised Assessments.

    How will the results be summarised?

    Following a feedback session (as noted above), a letter or email will summarise the assessment findings/results and recommendations, and will be sent to the legal guardian/carer and referring doctor or case manager/clinician.  

    If the patient is currently being seen at one of the RCH - Mental Health Community Teams, the results will also be provided to the referring Case Manager/Clinician, and the Case Manager/Clinician may also be involved in the feedback process. 

    For information about the format and content of this report please view the  Sample Clinical Summary (pdf file).

     

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