Expanded Service Provides Mental Health Care to all Hospital In-Patients

Members of the Consultation Liaison Service from left to right: Dr. S Khalil, Psychiatrist, Dr. R Bismil, Psychiatrist, Erin Harasym, RN, Dr. D Wadhwa, Psychiatrist and Nadia Bottoset, RN.

Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall health. An expanded Consultation Liaison Service at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre provides patients with increased access to specialized and appropriate mental health care.

The Consultation Liaison Service team refers patients to psychiatric or behavioural management, liaison with the referring treatment team, and provides ongoing monitoring of mental status. The team also facilitates transfer of patients to other mental health care services if deemed necessary. After proving successful during the pilot project phase, the service is now available to patients in all areas of the Hospital.

“We made a commitment to enhance the delivery of mental health care to patients outside of mental health services,” said Darcy Price, Acting Director of Adult and Forensic Mental Health. “This service helps us be more sensitive to patient needs by providing timely, efficient and robust mental health care for all patients, regardless of where they are located in our Hospital.”

The service also helps address the emerging substance abuse crisis that is happening across Northwestern Ontario. “We experience higher rates of substance abuse in our region, and people impacted can be patients of our Hospital,” said Price. “We are sensitive to all patient needs, and are strengthening the way we treat the whole human being – mind, body and soul.”

The Consultation Liaison teams consist of a psychiatrist and a mental health nurse. They connect patients, when necessary, to the appropriate community partners and agencies that can assist them on their continued path to healing. This includes connecting substance abuse patients to proper withdrawal management services and addiction counseling.

“We will continue to evaluate and enhance the service,” said Price. “Through ongoing engagement with our community partners and our internal nursing staff, we will identify any possible gaps in service and determine how we can further assist and support our patients and their families. It’s about being healthy together.”