Inpatient Mental Health and Addictions Services
Champlain LHIN’s Inpatient Mental Health & Addictions Capacity Plan (News, Summary, Final Report), a study recently completed by the Champlain LHIN and hospital partners, investigates how to improve inpatient mental health and addictions services and bed capacity in Champlain and is aligned with the LHIN’s strategic priority to integrate mental health and addictions services.
The work outlined in the plan and regional surge protocol includes 13 recommendations for a more optimal future state, including the implementation activities of the Champlain regional inpatient program such as the creation of governance structures, holding key stakeholder consultations, planning systems improvements and evidence based decision making.
Increases, or surges, in demand for mental health and addiction services, whether predicted or not, can pose risks to the capacity and ability to deliver safe and appropriate health care services .
The Surge Protocol was written to address situations where a hospital finds itself in a surge and covers the three basic levels of surge (Minor, Moderate, and Major) with each being more serious in nature than the previous level. All surge levels are addressed to recognize the inter-dependencies and transitions which can occur between the various levels.
Furthermore, in the cycle of surges there are periods of regular operations (Normal Conditions) both before and after a surge and these are critical times to reflect upon past surges and make improvements and preparations for future surges. Information and ideas from reference documents, emails, draft reviews, and meetings have been incorporated to reflect the protocol development process for Champlain.
“First…it’s crucial to have clear communications between health personnel, partner hospitals and patients. In addition, to have a straight forward easy to understand dashboard that is not cluttered and to have clear wording that constitutes a Minor, Major surge etc. Second, is that what certain patients may experience at the ED or on the way to the ED could be the difference between a person recovering and never going back to a hospital for ED care. On the other hand a person/patient who is severely depressed, in crisis and/or suicidal that is bounced around between hospitals could take this experience very hard, negatively and very personally. They might say to themselves: If the hospital doesn’t care about me what’s the point of living!!
and things can snowball from there thus straining hospital capacities. Finally, a negative experience and poor discharge planning will affect visits to the ED and aggravate hospital capacity and resources. A positive experience for persons/patients with a proper surge protocol, adequate communication between partner hospitals and good discharge planning will most likely in my opinion minimize the strain on the ED and the need for more surge beds or in short minimize major surges and improve safety and care for staff and patients.”
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