A new observation room is under construction at the Cariboo Memorial Hospital to provide a safe space for mental health patients.
“What we’re really hoping to do is to be able to commence treatment at the local site rather than just holding patients until they are able to transfer to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops,” said Rae Samson, regional manager of community mental health and substance abuse for Interior Health who was in Williams Lake for meetings last week.
All the mental health and substance abuse programming in the region’s hospitals are under one program, she said, noting in addition to adding things like the observation rooms, IH is also trying to change the culture so that mental health clinicians work and follow the patients more closely.
“We have community staff coming in to provide some support, we can have expertise from psychiatrists providing consultation maybe via tele-health or to physicians in the emergency department and to the nurses, so we are actually commencing treatment as soon as the patient presents,” Samson added. “We are trying to settle and stabilize and hopefully diminish some of the transfers we are seeing to other centres.”
Additionally the Williams Lake RCMP have dedicated one member as a liaison for mental health, Samson said.