GRH’s mental health and addictions program: better care for our region
By Judy Shearer, associate vice president, mental health and addictions
I’m happy to tell you about how GRH is working to provide compassionate, inspirational and hopeful mental health care in Waterloo Region.
We’re providing care in better facilities serving our entire region. We’ve added nearly 60 new beds at our Freeport and KW sites, along with new outpatient services. Individuals and the community now have better access to a wide range of mental health and addictions services closer to home.
We’re refining our programs to support individuals as they recover. For example,
- We’ve added four new peer navigators, providing first-hand experience to support individuals in our program;
- We’ve developed a seven-bed transitional service to help prepare individuals who are leaving our program;
- We’ve added a family navigator to help families move through the complex mental health system;
- We’ve opened the Mount Hope Day Hospital to support individuals with a mental health issue and prevent hospital admissions when possible; and
- We’ve partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association to offer a community mental health worker in our emergency department.
Our key priorities are quality, safety and patient satisfaction. We want to focus on:
- Stronger engagement through our community advisory panel and participation in several community events;
- Increasing education for mental health staff supported by a generous Lyle S. Hallman Foundation grant;
- New supports with an extended mental health assessment unit at our KW Site, opening later this fall;
- Stigma reduction through awareness and ongoing advocacy; and
- Ongoing work to create a safer environment for patients and staff.
Thank you for your interest in our mental health and addictions program and our work to instill hope and foster recovery for individuals in Waterloo Region.
New program supports patients transitioning back into the community
When Grand River Hospital’s specialized mental health services opened in 2010, it helped to bring 50 area patients back to their home community to receive care, with the added benefit of support from family and friends. As these patients have received care at the hospital’s Freeport Site, many have progressed to moving back into the community. That’s where the new extraordinary needs program (ENP) comes in.
Grand River Hospital is an active partner in this new program that helps patients achieve comfort and support in their recovery journey after they leave the hospital.The ENP offers assistance for people who no longer need to be cared for in a hospital setting, but who need support adapting to life in their community.“Transitioning from the hospital to the community can be a difficult change for many,” says Andrew Palmer, program director of specialized mental health. “This program provides resources that aren’t readily available in the community to support this critical time of change in their lives. It will also help to reduce the likelihood of readmission to hospital.” Services offered through the program are tailored to meet the individual needs of its clients. Some people may benefit from more one-on-one counseling in the community, while others may need staff to accompany them to community based programs.The ENP opened in January with involvement from local organizations that include Waterloo Regional Homes for Mental Health, Waterloo-Wellington Service Resolution Services, Traverse Independence and several local group homes. It has so far assisted four patients in their transition to community life. For more information about the extraordinary needs program, please contact Andrew Palmer, the program director of specialized mental health or Margaret Adamski, social worker through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Centralized access makes for faster care for those experiencing mental illness
Approximately 20 percent of Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. For those living in Waterloo Wellington region, access to acute care services has now become easier.
Grand River Hospital’s adult mental health program recently launched a new centralized referral system to provide more timely and streamlined access to services for patients who need care most. Patients no longer need to wait in the emergency department (ED) to be seen by a physician, assessed and then referred to appropriate care services. The new system allows patients who need mental health care to be referred directly to treatment by their family physician.
“Spending a few hours in the emergency department may seem like a lifetime for those seeking mental health care,” says Paula Podolski, program director, adult mental health and emergency crisis services at GRH.
On average, 1,600 people a year visit the GRH ED with a mental health concern.
“About 40 percent of these patients are admitted to the hospital for further care and treatment,” says Paula. “Of the remaining 60 percent, 25 percent leave the ED with an outpatient referral. With our new centralized referral system, these patients can now avoid an often lengthy and challenging experience in the ED through direct referral to suitable acute mental health services at GRH.”
This new system will improve the patient experience and likely also have a positive impact on ED wait times… a possible 2,500 hours per year.
As the key acute care mental health and addictions provider for the region, GRH provides a range of individualized care and support services for patients experiencing mental illness or addiction. The program is committed to providing appropriate services to children, youth, adults and families through the continuum of care, ranging from early intervention to more intensive services.
Preventing youth suicide – Tips for parents
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth between 10 and 19 years of age. It is preventable.
“Suicide can be a parent’s greatest fear,” says Patricia Patterson-Wybrow, program director for Grand River Hospital’s child and adolescent mental health and withdrawal management services. “This fear can prevent communication, but all available evidence indicates that talking to your child lowers the risk of suicide.”
It’s often difficult for parents to separate warning signs from otherwise normal adolescent behaviour. That’s why it’s vital to know the warning signs by contacting Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council at http://www.wrspc.ca/ or 519-744-1813.
GRH is asking parents to:
1. Know the warning signs.
2. TALK! Don’t be afraid of communication.
3. Suicide-proof your home.
4. Partner with school and community resources.
5. Take immediate action. If your child talks about suicide, or your instinct tells you they might hurt themselves, get help. Drive to the closest emergency room where they can be in a safe environment until a psychiatric evaluation can be completed.
6. Don’t leave your child alone until they receive an evaluation ~ even if they deny “meaning it”.
7. Listen, be open and ask questions.
8. Assure your child that suicide is not an option and help is available.
“Never take warning signs lightly or promise to keep them secret,” explains Patricia. “When we are all committed to making prevention a priority, we can help youth before they engage in behaviour with irreversible consequences.”
GRH celebrates achievements of Andy Ladzik and Kathy Dietrich, the hospital’s latest employee award of excellence winners
Two veterans at Grand River Hospital have won the employee award of excellence for September and October. Andy Ladzik was honoured with GRH’s September 2012 employee award of excellence, celebrating his nearly 26 years of service at the hospital.
Andy started at GRH in December 1986 and has worked through a range of electrical needs at our sites. His nominators recognized him for many great qualities. These include:
- Always finding a solution, and tackling all tasks;
- Being helpful to any and all departments;
- Having a calm demeanour and can-do approach;
- Taking the time to explain any and all questions; and
- Being honest and hardworking.
Meanwhile, registered nurse Kathy Dietrich of GRH’s paediatric outpatient clinic has won October’s employee award of excellence, celebrating her 36 years of service to patients. Kathy’s nominators recognized her for several great attributes, including:
- Her demonstrated commitment to patients and families;
- Leadership by providing positive assistance to ensure best practice such as hand
hygiene standards and patient pathways;
- Being a dedicated practitioner;
- Understanding and listening attentively, caring, being thoughtful and considerate;
- Advocating for her patients;
- Being excited about working on new projects, and always taking on tasks with a positive attitude; and
- Thinking outside of the box.
Kathy also makes gowns on her own time for the childbirth program, which are donated to families who have recently lost a baby.
Congratulations and thank you to Andy and Kathy for your outstanding service to patients and Grand River Hospital!
RBC donation helps build new mental health resource centre for youth at GRH
Patients and families will benefit from a new child and adolescent mental health resource centre made possible through a generous donation from the RBC Foundation. The new centre will provide families with access to tools and information that will support their unique mental health journey and recovery.
The new centre is located in the child and adolescent mental health outpatient services area in the hospital’s Kaufman building.
The RBC Foundation is dedicated to providing early interventions, increasing awareness and reducing the stigma of mental illness.
The RBC Foundation made a generous gift of $50,000 for construction, furnishings and resource materials. The Ross and Doris Dixon Foundation also contributed $10,000 towards the purchase of educational resources for this area.
Allowing for the provision of more patient-focused care, staff will be able to refer patients to resources that promote best practice that are now conveniently available on-site.
“One of our care philosophies is to encourage the child or teen and their family to maintain a high level of involvement in their own care and wellness journey,” says Dr. John Heintzman, GRH’s chief of psychiatry. “This resource centre provides the tools to support this involvement in their care.”
GRH’s children’s mental health outpatient service receives approximately 4,400 visits a year from children and teens from Waterloo Region and Wellington County.
Bringing extraordinary vision, with pinpoint precision, to Grand River Hospital
As our regional cancer program has grown, so have other services within GRH that support prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oncology patients. To keep pace with this growth, the hospital requires an investment in its medical imaging technology.
GRH Foundation is committed to raising $1.5 million for a new interventional radiology unit.
What is interventional radiology? Interventional radiology offers a minimally-invasive alternative to open surgery. Using image guidance and minimally-invasive catheters and probes, interventional radiology can diagnose and treat a range of illnesses. State-of-the-art interventional radiology equipment will enable us to provide oncology treatment not currently available with the existing equipment. Given the growth of our cancer program, this need is quite urgent. A full description of the equipment is available on the Foundation’s website at http://www.grhf.org/.
How to help To date, $800,000 of the Foundation’s $1.5 million goal has been reached. To participate in this campaign, gifts are gratefully accepted through our secure website at http://www.grhf.org/ or by calling 519-749-4205.
GRH coming events Tuesday October 23rd, 4:30pm: GRH board meeting: Freeport Site board room (Village Centre, level two). For more information, please call Karen Taylor at 519-749-4300 extension 2201.Saturday November 3rd, 7:30pm: Grand Experience… Hooray for Hollywood: Taking place at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, this entertaining evening will help raise funds to support interventional radiology at Grand River Hospital. Tickets are $150 each. Please visit http://www.thegrandexperience.ca/ to buy your tickets or call 519-749-4205.2013 Leejay Levene Calendar: These locally-developed fundraising calendars celebrate the life and art of Leejay Levene. The calendars cost just $10 and support the purchase of patient intravenous pumps at GRH. Please visit http://www.grhf.org/ to order on-line or call 519-749-4205.Tuesday November 27th, 4:30pm: GRH board meeting: Freeport Site board room (Village Centre, level two). For more information, please call Karen Taylor at 519-749-4300 extension 2201.