Ivanhoe Mother Baby Unit

Australia’s first mother and baby unit dedicated to alcohol and other drug withdrawal opens in Ivanhoe, Victoria

Mothers and babies have access to an alcohol and other drug residential withdrawal service dedicated to their care after Australia’s first mother and baby unit was opened by Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley.

The mother and baby unit is attached to Curran Place which is an established withdrawal centre run by UnitingCare ReGen. The new unit occupies a sunny site and is arranged over a single storey, keeping a profile low and reflecting the residential scale of the surrounding streets. Throughout the centre, there is a focus on natural light, greenery and garden views with floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening the building up to a garden setting. Bedrooms are designed around the needs of the mother and baby with each incorporating a large picture window so families can enjoy the therapeutic qualities of nature and the outdoors.

The centre aims to establish a domestic atmosphere and provide a ‘home-away-from-home’ where mothers undertaking the program can find emotional and practical support without being separated from their children.

The building combines a variety of spaces with a focus on family facilities that provide an environment where mothers can take control and manage their own needs. While bedrooms are private, mothers and infants are encouraged to take advantage of the social spaces as much as possible. The main unit features a large timber-clad space that is used by mothers and babies for preparing and eating meals. Then there is a lounge retreat dedicated to the Mother Baby wing. The room is adorned by natural light, illuminated by linear roof lights and includes play areas for children and a comfortable living room for families to offer a respite from the intensity of the experience.

All institutional or hospital-like references have been banished in favour of home-like space and to that end the materials palette combines warm, natural wood and tactile surfaces.

BLP provided UnitingCare ReGen with a holistic service solution for the new mother and baby unit. As well as looking after all aspects of the design, BLP selected and purchased all equipment to provide best-value outcomes and utilise the funding for this project to its full extent.

BLP’s Director, Mark Mitchell commented:

“The design of the mother and baby unit was driven by our commitment to put the family first and to provide a safe, welcoming environment that supports the wellbeing of mothers and their children. We are delighted to have been part of the team that has delivered a project that will make such a difference to families across the Victoria region”.

Australia’s first mother and baby unit dedicated to alcohol and other drug withdrawal opens in Ivanhoe, VictoriaChristine Arundell