Planning for the future MH&A needs for seniors in VCH and PHC

Planning for the future MH&A needs for seniors in VCH and PHC

Planning for the future MH&A needs for seniors in VCH and PHC

July 12, 2012

Submitted by Robena Sirett, Older Adult Project Leader

Together, VCH and PHC are developing a regional approach to understanding older adult mental health and addiction services that currently exist and are predicting and planning for future needs.

By 2031, 21% of Canadians will be seniors (aged 65+) according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Twenty five per cent of older adults have a mental illness such as depression, dementia, anxiety or a psychotic disorder.

Some of the very real challenges we face regionally include:

  • the increase in demand for older adult MH&A resources
  • the increasingly clinical complexity of older adults requiring support and
  • the variable levels of staff expertise in older adult MH&A

These often lead to deterioration in health; increased morbidity; unnecessary ED visits/hospitalizations, longer length of stay in hospitals and care being provided in inappropriate places.

The first phase of the Older Adult Continuum Project involves understanding the current flow through the emergency departments, hospital inpatient units, specialized secondary, tertiary MH&A services, and community programs including residential services.

Over 40 participants across eight hospitals throughout VCH and PHC attended a recent regional launch meeting and mapped their current state processes.  A huge thanks goes out to all those who attended.

The Project is being led by a steering group including Yasmin Jetha, Regional Director, MH&A Program;  Heather Mak; Director Elder Care, PHC; Natalie McCarthy, Director MH&A and Residential Care, Richmond;  Robena Sirett, Older Adult Project Leader;  Dr. Elisabeth Drance,  Older Adult Physician Lead and Sumeet Kumar,  LEAN Coordinator.

During the summer the group will also be involved in site tours, analyzing information gathered and conducting a literature search.

The regional group will come together in November to review the work done to date and to plan for a future state for regional mental health and addiction services for older adults.

For more information, check out the MH&A section on VCH connect or contact any member of the Steering Group noted above.