What are integrated care pathways?
An integrated care pathway (ICP) is a new approach at CAMH to treating a person who needs help. That person needs to see the right people, in the right order, in the right place, at the right time. An ICP makes sure this happens, by identifying a care team of different professionals and mapping out the treatment process from start to finish. An ICP puts the person at the centre of all their care, which results in better care.
ICPs have been used in some parts of the medical system for several decades. But it is only recently that they been developed for mental health and addictions care. CAMH launched its first pathways, including the ICP for treating depression and alcohol dependence, in 2013. Now there are eight pathways, with more being developed:
Why are ICPs important?
Integrated care pathways:
- put the focus on the patient’s overall journey
- get patients the right care and treatment at the right time
- make sure that care decisions are based on evidence
- make sure that different members of a care team (e.g., physician, nurse, pharmacist, social worker) work together effectively
- empower and inform patients and their carers.
Who is on the ICP team?
The patient is at the centre of the team. Around them is a group of professionals communicating with each other about the treatment plan. The core members of a team will depend on the pathway a patient is on, but may include a physician, nurse, pharmacist, recreation therapist, social worker and others. If it would be helpful to a particular patient, other professionals might also be involved.
How does it work?
All care pathways include at least two areas of treatment: medication, and non-medication treatment such as psychotherapy (see the map of the treatment process below). The teamwork between physicians and other clinicians is a real benefit to patients, and allows the treatment to “hit the ground running.”
Decisions about medications are always based on evidence and generally include the patient’s input. CAMH understands that each patient is different, and will adjust treatment based on the person’s needs.
The types of treatments, plan of care and length of treatment are different for each pathway. To learn more about a particular pathway, click on the list above.