In the Durham Cluster of the Central East LHIN, an innovative partnership between a busy acute care hospital and a community-based mental health service provider means that local residents in crisis have an alternative to emergency department care. 

The recent allocation of $570,000 in Pay for Results funding by the Central East LHIN to Durham Mental Health Services means that DMHS will continue to provide community-based mental health crisis support in partnership with Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS).

Ontario's Pay for Results program helps hospitals meet specific emergency room wait time reduction targets. Over the last two years it has helped participating hospitals lower overall wait times by 4.7 hours (28%) for patients who require complex medical care or admission to hospital, and by 1.4 hours (22%) for patients with minor conditions.

DMHS works with RVHS to reduce emergency room wait times by providing an alternative to hospital care for individuals seeking mental health support.

In September 2009, DMHS expanded its Crisis Services program by opening a 6-bed crisis support residence in Ajax. Individuals who access RHVS emergency departments for mental health support are offered linkage to DMHS Crisis Services for immediate intervention and follow-up support.

"Many people go to the emergency room because they don't know where else to go for help," says DMHS Executive Director Rob Adams. "There is a network of community support services people aren't aware of or connected to.”

“Community-based programs like our crisis response services offer mental health support that is just as effective as hospital care for most individuals and far less disruptive to their lives than hospitalization,” continues Adams.

RVHS President and CEO Rik Ganderton says, "DMHS' expanded services, with a new location in Ajax, offers a community alternative to hospital visits for people needing mental health support. It's all about offering the right care, at the right time at the right place for patients. As a quality-focused community hospital, Rouge Valley congratulates DMHS on this initiative."

To access DMHS Crisis Services, clients call 905-666-0483 or toll-free 1-800-742-1890.

submitted by David Clarke, Co-ordinator - Communications and Training, Durham Mental Health Services