Innovative Work Leads to Better Mental Health and Addictions Care for Children, Youth and Families

Children and teenagers who need mental health and addictions help are getting better care, faster, as a result of innovative work at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

Over the last four years, access to community mental health and addictions care at the region’s children’s hospital has improved by 75 per cent. Young people who need emergency care are seen immediately and nearly all cases assessed as needing urgent care are seen in under four days.

For non-urgent care, 72 per cent are seen within 28 days and the average wait is 22 days.

The improvements are the result of new innovative practices that have led to faster access to the IWK’s community mental health and addictions services. This work has meant families accessing care, frontline staff and senior staff working together and sharing input to identify where changes could be made to improve care.

“I am pleased to see the success the IWK has had in improving access to care by working with families and clinicians. This work is making a positive difference to those looking for support as well as those caring for them,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey.

The work focuses on four areas: access, quality of care, productivity and staff satisfaction. All have seen positive results:
— 75 per cent improvement in wait times
— 98 per cent of patients and families report satisfaction in the quality of care
— 82 per cent of staff report high levels of satisfaction
— 90 per cent of appointments are attended, due to changes to IWK’s referral and intake system which fills cancelled appointments

Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis should call the 24/7 toll-free provincial Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-888-429-8167. The line provides crisis intervention for children, youth and adults.

Source: Release

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