STOLLERY CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL FOUNDATION
TRANSFORMING PEDIATRIC MENTAL HEALTH CARE
TOTAL FUNDS RECEIVED IN 2021
HOSPITAL PROGRAM OVERVIEW
Thanks to donors like Sobeys, the Stollery Children’s Hospital is providing round-the-clock critical mental health care to children, youth and families as well as increased access to timely non-emergency support. Due to difficulties accessing early mental health interventions, many young patients and their families end up turning to Emergency Departments (EDs). As the only specialized pediatric ED in central and northern Alberta, Stollery receives many of these cases – seeing approximately 2,500 kids and teens each year.
Although we have a 24/7 crisis team ready to respond to patients experiencing mental health emergencies, we are also working to adapt our team and service approach in order to meet non-emergency needs in a timely way – all while easing strain on the hospital. A key aspect of this work is to develop a multidisciplinary mental health team that’s integrated into the Stollery ED – ready to give patients the immediate care they need, and redirect them toward non-emergency supports where appropriate. Support from Sobeys and others has enabled us to hire enough licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to provide 24/7 coverage, as well as a social worker, a registered psychiatric nurse, a mental health therapist and a clinical nurse educator.
We have made a number of important steps in 2021:
- A new mental health walk-in clinic opened in May, seeing clients diverted from the ED who screen as low-risk and do not require psychiatric support. These patients are offered a same-day appointment with a therapist. In July 2021 alone, 89 of the 269 ED mental health-related visits were redirected to the walk-in clinic.
- A new outpatient psychiatry clinic opened in November for children and youth who require ongoing psychiatric follow-up. Although the clinic is already providing high- quality, evidence-based support (and carried out more than 50 appointments in just two months of operation at the end of 2021), we look forward to welcoming patients and families into a new, larger clinic space that’s currently being renovated for this purpose.
- Our clinical nurse educator (CNE) continues to build the hospital’s mental health care capacity, including by working with medical teams who are not focused on mental health but benefit from the CNE’s support in providing holistic care to patients.
- Support from the donor-funded registered psychiatric nurse has allowed the Stollery Urgent Psychiatry Clinic to decrease wait times for referrals and consults from three weeks down to under 10 days.