PEI

Health PEI eyeing mobile care for mental health crisis response

Health PEI is "in the early stages" of looking at a new care model for mental health services that could reduce hospital time for patients.

Doctor from U.K. speaking to P.E.I. officials about benefits of mobile crisis response team

The crisis response team would provide care to patients at home or by phone. (Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

Health PEI is "in the early stages" of looking at a new care model for mental health services that could reduce hospital time for patients.

Dr. Mahesh Nachnani is a psychiatrist from England who is meeting with Health PEI officials this week. (Mahesh Nachnani/LinkedIn)

Psychiatrist Dr. Mahesh Nachnani of Lincolnshire, England, is on the Island this week, to speak to Health PEI officials about creating a crisis response team that would do home visits and take phone calls from patients — something he has first hand experience with.

"The crisis team provides this alternative to the hospital admissions," he explained. "If you treat the patients in their own nest … many of the visitors to the emergency department can be reduced."

Nachnani said even if hospitalization is required, the crisis team can help patients leave the hospital earlier, and can help them transition back to being at home.

'A backup plan'

"If you have a patient who has been admitted in a psychiatric ward, sometimes they spend months and months, and when they come out, they are bewildered and sometimes confused," he said.

"If we have a crisis team out there … there will be a backup plan when they go out of the hospital."

Nachnani said the crisis team makes use of existing medical personal, and doesn't necessarily require more resources.

"I think it's about retraining the existing staff that's already in your pool," he said.

Health PEI 'in early stages'

Dr. Heather Keizer worked with a crisis response team in Ontario, and said Health PEI is in the early stages of looking at a similar program for the Island. (CBC)

Dr. Heather Keizer, chief of mental health and addictions with Health PEI, said she had experience working with a crisis response team in Ontario, and said it was especially useful with patients in rural areas.

"I think it's a wonderful idea," said she said, but added Health PEI is still "in the early stages "of exploring the idea for P.E.I.

"We're exploring the specifics of it, and of course, to be able to implement, it's going to take some time and some planning," she said.

With files from Stephanie Kelly

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