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Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) has one of the highest rates of patients with mental health issues who return to the Emergency Department within 30 days of their initial visits within the Champlain LHIN. Some of the mental health issues seen at ARH include depression, anxiety, substance abuse and schizophrenia.
A busy emergency room where there is a lot of noise and chaos is typically not the right place to provide the right care to those who have anxiety or dependency issues. Regardless of the health issue; ARH defines quality care as doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, for the right person – and having the best possible outcome. The clinicians at ARH wanted to patients with mental health issues a more appropriate experience by connecting the patient with the right care provider when it mattered most. This need resulted in a formalized partnership with Renfrew County Mental Health and with Pathways Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services. “Pathways Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services is now working in partnership with Arnprior Regional Health to better serve individuals in our community who struggle with substance abuse issues through strengthening and improving their quality of care and reducing emergency room visits,” said Lise Lafromboise, Executive Director of Pathways Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services.
These partnerships allow emergency department staff to contact the appropriate agency depending on the mental health issues affecting that patient. Often times a patient in distress comes to the hospital as a last resort. “People experiencing a MHA crisis often visit the ER to seek treatment or to connect with services. Through this partnership, we aim to improve client and family access to the responsive and timely support needed for recovery.” Mireille Delorme, Director Mental Health Services, Mental Health Services Renfrew County- Pembroke Regional Hospital.
These partnerships give emergency room staff access to a councilor from either Pathways or Renfrew County Mental Health that they can reach out to on behalf of the patient. The councilor will come directly to the emergency department to speak with the patient or consult with them over the phone. This helps the patient establish a relationship with a counselor and allows for a follow up appointment and eventually a treatment plan.
Within days of implementing the partnership results were already encouraging. “This past week we had two patients who needed mental health help. We got on the phone and the councilors came right into the emergency department to speak with them. This is a positive step forward in an area where we really have been lacking. We are seeing great results and I am very happy that we have it here,” said Dr. Mark Borzecki, Chief of Emergency.