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The JGH’s Department of Psychiatry provides a wide variety of mental health outpatient and inpatient services to the population. Its philosophy is to treat each patient as an individual living within a larger social system that includes both family and community. Using a range of therapies as well as biologically-based treatments, department members endeavour to help patients while offering practical support and encouragement to family and friends. In particular, the Department works in close cooperation with the Department of Oncology, providing clinical services to cancer patients and their families in addition to carrying out extensive psychosocial research on cancer patients.
“Providing a first class, safe and secure environment for the Psychiatric Inpatient Unit will demonstrate caring for a group of patients who are often stigmatized and will enhance the safety of both patients and staff.”
– Dr. Michael Bond, Chief, Department of Psychiatry
The JGH is one of the few hospitals in Montreal and Quebec to have maintained a full inpatient psychiatry service. The 48-bed unit provides comprehensive, acute, short-term assessment and treatment, including emergency and high-risk care, for patients aged 17 to 90 who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Patients present a wide variety of symptoms and conditions and, more often than not, suffer from both psychiatric and medical illnesses as well as multiple impairments and chronic medical conditions. It consists of an open 32-bed ward, a closed 8-bed High Care Area and an 8-bed Transitional Unit. Patient care is carried out by multidisciplinary teams involving psychiatry, psychology, nursing, occupational therapy, social service and family practitioners. Whenever possible, the family or support system, if one exists, is also involved in the treatment. Intervention is geared towards early discharge and transfer to an outpatient service. The Unit is always full, often overflowing onto other units, and there are usually patients waiting in the ER for admission. In 2010, there were 510 admissions to the Unit with an average length of stay of 36 days for the acute cases.
As a result of the downsizing of institutional care – which has lead to bed closures in hospitals without being matched by a commensurate increase in community-based services – the Psychiatry Inpatient Unit is facing increased pressure to admit patients, compounded by the fact that the patient population is increasingly ill, more prone to violence and has a wide range of co-morbidities. While the care provided is without question one of the finest and most compassionate provided in Montreal, the physical facility desperately needs to be renovated and redesigned to provide for a safer, more secure, functional and soothing environment for patients and staff alike. The renovated unit will make more efficient use of space and include the addition of dedicated family rooms for private counselling, conversion to private and semi-private rooms, more toilets and showers, hand disinfection stations as well as state-of-the-art security technology, providing for an environment that promotes dignity, healing, wellness and comfort.
The renovation of the Psychiatry Inpatient Unit will enhance the Department’s ability to meet the complex psychiatric needs of the medically ill, improve patient experience and quality of life, lower family stress and contribute to reduce the stigma of psychiatric hospitalization. Staff retention and recruitment will also benefit greatly, which is crucial in view of the high stress which characterizes the unit and the current shortage of psychologists and other professionals.
The Department of Psychiatry at the JGH
Renovation of Psychiatry Inpatient Unit
Security technology infrastructure
Single-bed patient rooms
Pharmacy and medical storage rooms
Pyxis automated drug administration system