Lions Gate Hospital Foundation has launched the Emergency Mental Health campaign to help fund an upgrade that will provide rapid access to specialized mental health services and improved triage care.
More than 65,000 patients a year are treated at LGH Emergency, up from 40,000 in 2009. Of that number 3,500 present with mental health and substance use issues, of which 17% are youth under the age of 19.
The number of violent incidents have also doubled in the past five years and the upgrade will include improvements to security and safety that will benefit both patients and staff.
A new Psychiatric Emergency Assessment Unit, located within the Emergency Department will provide care in a safe, secure and private setting for up to eight severely-ill patients dealing with mental health and substance use issues. As well as extra safety mechanisms, video-conferencing facilities and private meeting rooms, the new unit will have a dedicated area for children and youth.
The triage area, where non-critical patients are assessed will also be re-designed with better sightlines allowing staff to keep an eye on all the visitors, a new visitor assessment area right at the main entrance and physical and infection control barriers.
Dr. Allan Burgmann, Medical Director of Acute Psychiatric Services at LGH (pictured above), who works on the frontline of mental health care in the Emergency Department and at The HOpe Centre, says: “The Emergency Department was state-of-the-art when it was built and graciously funded by people in the community. We have used the department to its maximum potential over the last 12 years but with the increase in visitor numbers, it is
important for us to re-configure and rethink the footprint of emergency care at LGH.”
LGH Foundation needs to raise $4 million and Vancouver Coastal Health will contribute $1.5 million to the building costs. Construction is planned to begin later this year.