New acute mental health and addiction supports

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 56, No. 4, May 2014, Page 177 News

In response to a Ministry of Health Report, Improving Health Services for Individuals with Severe Addiction and Mental Illness, the BC government is launching an Assertive Outreach Team in Vancouver and opening a new Acute Behavioural Stabilization Unit at St. Paul’s Hospital to improve care for patients with severe addiction and mental health needs.

The Assertive Outreach Team includes a nurse, social worker, psychiatrist, physician, and Vancouver Po-lice Department staff working together to support patients who suffer from severe addictions and mental health issues and transition them from local emergency departments in Vancouver to appropriate community services. The Assertive Outreach Team is a collaboration between Vancouver Coastal Health, the Vancouver Police Department, Providence Health Care, and Mental Health Emergency Services.

The outreach team will help support patients transitioning from the new Acute Behavioural Stabil-ization Unit at St. Paul’s. This new unit is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and provides nine dedicated emergency psychiatric beds located in a separate area of St. Paul’s emergency department. The unit offers short-stay admissions (up to 48 hours) and has been renovated to increase the capacity of St. Paul’s emergency department to treat this complex patient population. The unit is staffed with an interdisciplinary team of emergency physicians, emer-gency nurses, psychiatrists, registered psychiatric nurses, psychiatric asses-s-ment nurses, and social workers, and receives input from addictions consultants.

To read the Ministry of Health Care report, visit

. New acute mental health and addiction supports. BCMJ, Vol. 56, No. 4, May, 2014, Page(s) 177 - News.

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