No more wait lists for men­tal health and ad­dic­tion is­sues in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay

Labrador Gren­fell Health made the change as of Aug. 28

The Labradorian - - Front Page - BY EVAN CAREEN

Peo­ple seek­ing men­tal health or ad­dic­tions ser­vices at the Labrador Health Cen­tre in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay will no longer be put on a wait list.

Sandy Pen­ney, re­gional di­rec­tor of men­tal health and ad­dic­tions for Labrador Gren­fell Health (LGH), told The Labradorian they es­sen­tially changed from an ap­point­ment-based ser­vice to a walk-in ser­vice, as of Aug. 28.

Pen­ney said pre­vi­ously they would re­ceive re­fer­rals from a va­ri­ety of sources, take that re­fer­ral and the pa­tient would come in, do in­take and screen­ing and then, based on the sever­ity of the needs, clients would be placed on a wait­list in or­der of pri­or­ity.

“We’ve changed how peo­ple ac­cess the ser­vice, but you still get the same ser­vice,” she said. “If you come in to see us to­day and you’re suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion, for ex­am­ple, and we see you, we will see you again next week but you come in when you want to come in to see us.”

There was a sig­nif­i­cant no show rate in the Happy Val­leyGoose Bay re­gion, she said, and now this change will elim­i­nate both those is­sues, the wait list and the no show rate.

LGH con­tacted peo­ple on the wait list, she said, and got good feed­back from most.

“Peo­ple are go­ing to come in when they want and need the ser­vice,” Pen­ney noted. “There are lots of dis­ad­van­tages to book­ing ap­point­ments.

“If we book a client for an ap­point­ment for a Tues­day at 2 p.m. and they’re hav­ing a re­ally good day that day they don’t want to come in. Why would they want to come in? Some peo­ple do call to can­cel but some­times they don’t and here we are with all these peo­ple on a wait list that could be us­ing that ap­point­ment time.”

A sim­i­lar ap­proach was used in Eastern Health, on the Burin Penin­sula, and has been go­ing well so far. Pen­ney said they con­sulted with all the re­gional health au­thor­i­ties, com­mu­nity part­ners within the Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay area and the pro­vin­cial govern­ment.

This change is in line with the 54 rec­om­men­da­tions adopted by the prov­ince in June of 2017, stem­ming from the all-party com­mit­tee that was struck to cre­ate a pro­vin­cial men­tal health and ad­dic­tions plan. The com­mit­tee re­leased a doc­u­ment ti­tled ‘To­wards Re­cov­ery: A men­tal health and ad­dic­tions plan for New­found­land and Labrador.” One of the rec­om­men­da­tions was to re­duce wait lists and wait times for men­tal health and ad­dic­tion ser­vices.

“This is what we did to elim­i­nate wait times and the feed­back has been great so far,” Pen­ney said. “We ob­vi­ously have done tremen­dous amount of work to get where we’re to to­day.”

She said more of the rec­om­men­da­tions will be im­ple­mented in the area and they are work­ing on them.

FILE PHOTO

Labrador Health Cen­tre in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay.

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