New Brunswick

Vitalité Health Network orders reviews of Restigouche psychiatric hospital

Concerns have been made by various individuals and organizations, including police and courts, related to absenteeism, patient care and aggressive behaviour of patients with staff.

The hospital has 140 beds and includes a forensic unit for psychiatric assessment orders

The Restigouche Hospital Centre is New Brunswick's psychiatric hospital. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

After complaints about admission delays and incidents with staff, the Vitalité Health Network has ordered two separate reviews of the Restigouche psychiatric hospital.

The reviews will examine complaints made by individuals and organizations, including the police and courts.

Gilles Lanteigne, president and CEO of the Vitalité Health Network, said the hospital will also assess management systems and processes, as well as quality and security of care.

"We are very committed, and so is the staff, in seeing how we can improve the services at the regional hospital," he told Shift New Brunswick in an interview Wednesday.

Complaints came from internal and external sources

The Restigouche Hospital Centre is located in Campbellton, N.B., and opened in June 2015.

It can serve 140 patients, and includes a forensic unit that handles psychiatric assessment orders by courts across the province.

Lanteigne did not say how many complaints were made, only that they came from internal and external sources.

He said there were concerns related to absenteeism, patient care and aggressive behaviour of patients with staff.

The hospital also wants to look at better ways of training staff and improving team work, he said.

"We know that now that there are ways to better train staff in order to avoid this," he said.

Vitalité CEO Gilles Lanteigne said he has already received a lot of positive feedback from the physicians and staff, who want to improve their work. (CBC)

"We also know that staff needs the physicians' support, the psychiatrists' support, so to make sure that the policies are really working the way we intend them to work,

"So that the patients get the highest possible care but at the same time that the staff and the patients are in a safe environment."

Physicians, staff willing to improve work

The complaints are now under review by two external doctors, who started their work in late December.

Reports on the facility are expected to come in from now until March.

But Lanteigne said he has already received a lot of positive feedback from the physicians and staff, who want to improve their work.

While he described some of the problems at the new facility as "growing pains," he also said it is time to look at the traditional cultures of mental health institutions and to bring those up to par.

"We have now a physical facility to provide high quality of care and we have to get everyone on board to actualize this," he said.

"We want to be up to par and a leader in this area."

With files from Shift New Brunswick