Emergency patients in need of mental health crisis supports will now have extended access to psychiatric nurses at the Regina General Hospital’s Emergency Department.
A $375,000 investment in the Government of Saskatchewan’s 2019-20 provincial budget, which included record spending on mental health and addictions, is being used to extend psychiatric nurse coverage from eight to 16 hours per day. The additional shifts started at the end of June.
“Our government is committed to improving mental health services and addressing emergency department pressures,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said. “This investment will help provide better access for people experiencing mental health challenges, and support them in obtaining follow up care.”
Glen Perchie, Director of Emergency for the Saskatchewan Health Authority in Regina, said the nurses’ specialized skills can better meet the needs of mental health patients in crisis.
“While most mental health and addictions care effectively occurs in the community, sometimes immediate care is needed in emergency. When this occurs, we know that the emergency room environment can be very difficult for patients experiencing a mental health crisis to manage. We want to ensure that their stay is welcoming, supportive and connects them quickly to the appropriate intervention,” Perchie said.
“While our primary emergency department nurses are able to provide very effective care for mental health patients’ physical needs, we know mental health patients often have other, more complex needs as well that must be addressed to help them regain their health.”
The psychiatric nurses in the emergency department are not primary emergency nurses – their role is consultative. They provide crisis interviews and assess, develop and implement mental health care plans. They understand the community supports and inpatient supports available and work closely with psychiatrists to help patients navigate their journey through and to the care that is best suited to their needs.
“With these additional supports, we are able to help patients manage their crisis more effectively, and connect them to the most appropriate mental health or addictions services more quickly,” Perchie said. “This care enhancement will definitely benefit our patients and we expect will improve both their experience and outcomes with emergency care.”
Regina General Hospital