With more than 1,000 patients a month—and steadily increasing—the Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan Emergency Department is the largest of its kind in Canada. In November, CAMH launched the Drop-in Bridging Clinic to ensure that every visitor to the emergency department gets the care they need. Initial results have been very promising, suggesting the service is already easing congestion and supporting follow-up care.
People who arrive at the emergency department with non-urgent needs can be sent to the Bridging Clinic just down the hall to receive quality care without necessarily being admitted. In most cases, they are seen within 30 minutes—dramatically shorter than the typical emergency department wait time—freeing significant resources for more urgent patients.
Inpatients preparing for discharge can visit the Bridging Clinic for follow-up care when they need it—without an appointment—anytime during its weekday operating hours. In its first three months, the Clinic had over 600 visits.
One of the goals of the service is to reduce the need for patients to be readmitted to CAMH. The impact was immediate: In the first full month that the clinic was operational, the readmission rate was reduced by more than half.
“It helps people avoid falling through the cracks,” says Natalie Quick, Manager of Access CAMH and Ambulatory Services in the Acute Care Program.
That includes people like Charlie Cummings, who came to the emergency department with life-threatening depression.
I kept my illness hidden and I got sicker and sicker until it was almost too late. Everything changed when I went to CAMH’s emergency department and my illness was diagnosed for the first time. I started treatment immediately and today I have my life back.
Charlie Cummings, CAMH Ambassador
CAMH opened a new 23-bed acute care inpatient unit in March 2018 to further ease emergency department congestion and help more people like Charlie.
When the latest phase of CAMH’s redevelopment on the Queen Street campus is completed in 2020, one of the two new buildings will be home to the new site of CAMH’s unique 24/7 mental health emergency department.