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September 9, 2013
On Thursday, September 5 the Transitional Discharge Model (TDM) was launched at Victoria Hospital. Led by Lawson Health Research Institute’s Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, TDM is designed to provide seamless support as clients make the transition from the hospital to the community.
The transition from hospital to community is complex and can be challenging for people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Research shows the first days and weeks following psychiatric discharge are particularly high-risk periods for relapse. As many clients are between care providers, they are vulnerable to emergency room visits and readmission to hospital. Forty-three per cent of suicides occur within the first month post-discharge.
The TDM ensures hospital staff continue to provide care until the client is connected with a community care provider. It also partners discharged clients with a peer who has successfully integrated into the community after a psychiatric diagnosis.
Previously, Dr. Forchuk and colleagues implemented this project in 13 wards at four regional hospitals while a matched 13 wards provided usual care. Results showed the length of stay was reduced by an average of 116 days per client. This amounts to over $12-million worth of freed bedspace, and $4,400 less hospital and emergency room services per person in the year after discharge.
As they roll the TDM out province-wide, Dr. Forchuk and her team hope to continue to improve patient outcomes and reduce the strain on hospital resources, while strengthening the working relationships between hospitals and community support groups.