For Immediate Release
January 21, 2015
Early this evening, the Ministry of Labour (Ministry) returned to LHSC to follow-up on the previous day's review of staff safety challenges resulting from very high patient volume and acuity in our Mental Health Acute Care Program. After reviewing its findings, the Ministry issued orders respecting the need for further risk assessments and the need to review some policies and procedures, which will augment the enhanced safety measures already in place on the mental health unit.
LHSC will now take time to review more fully the information provided by the Ministry and develop appropriate plans. It is LHSC's intent to implement the orders as a continuation of its ongoing work with its joint health and safety committee and unit staff to ensure safety in the mental health program.
As LHSC increased its capacity to support higher mental health inpatient volumes beginning in March 2014, a number of additional safety measures were implemented in the mental health program. These included more frequent safety meetings with unit staff members focused on managing safety on the unit during unprecedented volumes; joint health and safety committee risk assessments and observational audits of the surge area; policy revisions; recruitment to support an increased nurse staffing model for new surge space; and personal panic alarm use review. Safety huddles were later held to review the first six months of surge space use, and a further increase to the nurse staffing model occurred in December 2014 to reflect updated risk assessments. As well, more recently, based upon the further elevation of the risk level on the unit, security presence was increased and restrictions were placed on daytime passes and visitors to the unit.
LHSC is supportive of the Ministry's focus on preventing violence toward staff across the health care system in Ontario - particularly as it relates to the increasing mental health inpatient volumes and acuity being experienced in acute care settings and the challenges that creates. This reality highlights the need to ensure that adequate social and health system supports are developed outside the acute hospital setting for this growing patient population.
President and Chief Executive Officer
London Health Sciences Centre
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