It has been five years since the Coordinated Access Team began streamlining access to services at St. Joseph’s Regional Mental Health Care (RMHC).
The Coordinated Access Team (CAT), which launched in October of 2007, replaced the complex referral process of the past with streamlined access and one point of entry for specialized mental health services within all regions served by RMHC. The program ensures equality of access and has created a timely referral process to improve access and increase capacity for specialized mental health care. CAT also provides 24 hour access for registered outpatients of RMHC and patients who have been discharged within three months.
The CAT team is composed of a variety of skilled clinicians from different backgrounds. They hold quarterly meetings with all RMHC programs and bi-annual meetings with external stakeholders to ensure equitable access to bedded services. An external review process is also available, upon request, to review complex cases.
Steve Elson, Regional Integration Specialist, describes the CAT program at RMHC as an excellent local example of how well coordinated access can work. Leveraging the RMHC experience, aspects of the CAT approach were used in developing the Parkwood Access Program where a centralized process is now in place for the Complex Care, Rehabilitation and Specialized Geriatric Services inpatient programs, and the Geriatric Rehabilitation Day Hospital outpatient service.
The CAT team members would like to extend their appreciation for the ongoing support received by all RMHC programs, physicians and leaders who have all contributed to the teams’ success over their first five years. They look forward to exciting initiatives that lie ahead including working with the Moods and Anxiety Program on a pilot project for the introduction of the electronic white board. This board will enable real time bed availability to inpatient units, creating a seamless transition to care. In addition, CAT is preparing for their move into the new London mental health facility in 2014.
“Over the past five years the Coordinated Access program has established a solid foundation within RMHC and with our regional partners by reducing wait times and offering more responsive consultations for admission to RMHC,” says Sandy Whittall, Integrated Vice President, Mental Health Services. “With exciting challenges ahead in mental health care, I know the team looks forward to enhancing access and fostering a positive, respectful culture."
Above: The Coordinated Access Team
Front row (L) to (R): Mike Fryer, Registered Nurse; Isabel Facey, Registered Nurse; Dr. Robbie Campbell, Psychiatrist and Physician Leader
Middle row: Krista Lake, Child and Youth Worker; Candis Minter, Registered Nurse, LHSC Satellite Office; Ruth Mooser, Coordinator
Back row: Margo Trojek, Admin Assistant; Jill MustinPowell, Director