Mental Health Care

St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital opened a new mental health care program, on the First Floor, Main Building on January 13, 2014.  The 10,000 square foot space includes a 15-bed unit for inpatients requiring hospitalization up to two weeks, and space for related outpatient programs and services.
The unit has nine single and six double patient rooms, as well as common areas such as a family visiting room and group therapy spaces. STEGH’s program involves both inpatient and outpatient assessment and intervention as needed for adults 18 and older.
The new unit replaces beds dedicated to local patients at the St. Joseph’s Regional Mental Health Care facility south of St. Thomas, which closed in June 2013. The mental health care program will remain in this temporary location until a permanent facility, part of STEGH’s larger redevelopment project, is complete in 2017.
 Deb Gibson, the hospital’s manager for mental health care, says that although the program opens in an interim space, it is still extremely well-designed for its purpose.  Having the program in the community hospital means that patients will receive a full continuum of care, because physical ailments often accompany mental illness.
Click here to learn more about key features in this new space...
Dr. Giuseppe Guaiana, STEGH’s first Chief of Psychiatry, plans a team of four psychiatrists for inpatient and outpatient programs, working in conjunction with nurses and other related professionals. He looks forward to establishing close ties with family physicians, social workers, Canadian Mental Health Association and all the other care providers outside the hospital.
Short-term hospitalization for people with mental illness is sometimes needed to determine a diagnosis, to stabilize symptoms, or to provide respite for a person who is struggling with the challenges of mental illness. Mental illness is much more common than most in the community think. Statistics indicate one in five Canadians will experience it in some point, and many won’t seek medical help, something Deb would like to remedy.
For more information on regional mental heath care transformation visit St. Joseph's Regional Mental Heath Care website.