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Health PEI introducing new day program for acute mental health patients

CANADA, May 10 - Health PEI’s Mental Health and Addictions division is introducing a new 12-space acute day program and consolidating acute mental health care beds in order to help improve patient care and increase access to acute inpatient and psychiatry services. 

The new Partial Hospitalization Program will provide 12 additional acute day program treatment spaces at the Hillsborough Hospital for Islanders with acute mental illness. These spaces allow patients who do not require inpatient care, but who still require care from a psychiatrist and mental health team, to access the services they need without being admitted to hospital. Health PEI plans to begin implementing these changes in stages, starting in late June.

“The new Partial Hospitalization Program provides a level of care that is currently not available to mental health clients on PEI. This program provides a transition option between the most intense care and supervision offered through full hospitalization and the client’s return to community-based care,” said Dr. Javier Salabarria, Medical Director for Mental Health and Addictions. “It’s a service that is used widely across Canada and the U.S. It offers excellent care for patients, while allowing more appropriate use of our inpatient beds.”

In order to support the new service, acute inpatient mental health care in Charlottetown will be consolidated at the Hillsborough Hospital. This means the current inpatient capacity at Unit 9 of the QEH will be transferred to the Hillsborough Hospital. The lower acuity Special Care Unit, currently on Unit 7 of Hillsborough Hospital, will be transferred to the former Unit 9.  

“These changes represent a more appropriate design for acute mental health care on PEI, aligning with the vision in the Mental Health and Addictions Redevelopment Plan.” said Dr. Salabarria. “It also allows staff who provide inpatient acute mental health care to work more closely together, promoting collaboration and peer support.” 

The new program is expected to improve patient flow, including helping to reduce waits in the emergency department for acute care beds as well as improved support for transition to the community for lower-acuity patients. 

“We also anticipate that these changes will reduce readmission rates by ensuring that patients are getting the right care at the right time,” said Dr. Salabarria.

The transition will include support for patients, clients and families to minimize any disruption they may experience along the way.

  Media Contact: Everton McLean Health PEI Chief Communications Officer