WINDSOR, ON - A joint initiative between Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) and the Canadian Mental Health Association - Windsor Essex County Branch (CMHA WECB) that began in response to urgently supporting those struggling with mental health and addictions during COVID-19 is the successful recipient of a $81,200 grant.
The HDGH and CMHA - WECB Mental Health and Addictions Urgent Care Centre (MHAUCC) was awarded the grant through the Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine and the Canadian Medical Association Foundation that will support the work done through the CMHA Health Centre with funding for a Registered Nurse as well as the continued evaluation of the MHAUCC. The RN, who has already been hired and assigned, will increase support, communications and integrated care required for this initiative between the CMHA Health Centre and HDGH multidisciplinary staff.
The MHAUCC located at CMHA WECB 1400 Windsor Avenue was initiated in response to COVID-19 for those who cannot wait for community supports and are at high risk of an emergency department visit or hospitalization. Because the MHAUCC has been co-located with the CMHA Health Centre, if needed, individuals are able to seek primary care or be referred directly from the CMHA Health Centre, improving service access.
"This grant will not only allow us to continue to offer specialized and integrated mental health and addictions care to a high risk group in one location, it will also allow for the fulsome continued evaluation of this service," said Marla Jackson, Manager of HDGH's Department of Research and Evaluation whose team has led the program planning and now ongoing evaluation of the MHAUCC. "This work is important to help us to understand this innovative model of care, so we can ensure we're meeting the needs of our clients and our community."
Providing urgent access by a cohesive team of healthcare professionals including Psychiatrists, RNs, Primary Care Physicians, Social Workers and Addictions Specialists has been a unique feature of the MHAUCC.
"Not only has access been improved to primary care with the introduction of the CMHA Health Centre, we are also noticing improving access to ongoing primary care, meaning individuals are coming back. This is something not always experienced by our mental health patient population and a very positive strength of the program" said Dr. Mohammed Hussain, the principal investigator for the grant and also a primary care physician with CMHA Health Centre.
Dr. Hussain also emphasized the important link between physical and mental health. "Providing integrated care helps patients and their providers. It blends the expertise of mental health, social work and primary care clinicians with feedback from patients and caregivers, creating a team-based approach where mental health care and general medical care are offered in the same setting."
Dr. Hussain has extensive clinical experience in primary care and mental health care and a strong interest in fostering a solid doctor-patient relationship while working with this patient population.
Services at the MHAUCC are right now scheduled to continue until October of this year, with the hope of receiving permanent funding for long-term delivery. Since opening in April, the MHAUCC has operated for 104 days. As of Thursday July 30th, the multidisciplinary team has had 268 visits, in over 100 of which the individual reported they would have gone to the Emergency Department had the service not been available. Appointments lasted an average of one hour and thirty minutes.