Last month – as part of the Windsor-Essex Hospitals System announcement –we introduced you to a collaborative and locally produced, proposal for the future of healthcare services. Part of this innovative plan includes a major transformation of Mental Health & Addictions services in this region.

The proposal calls for a new 60-bed acute mental health wing at the Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Tayfour Campus on Prince Rd. These beds are currently located at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette Campus. Moving them to the Prince Rd site – where specialized mental health and addictions and children’s mental health services are already offered – will give mental health clients direct access to care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“This will make possible a seamless system of mental healthcare in Windsor-Essex,” Says Dr. Tamison Doey, Chair of the HDGH Professional Advisory Committee.

“It will provide our patients and clients, from child and youth, through to psychogeriatric care, a single entry point to our mental health system,” Doey says.
This $106 million project is part of a proposal that was submitted to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for review and approval.

Also included in the proposal is a $137 million project proposed for the Ouellette Campus. Once the acute care hospital moves to a new site, the plan calls for a demolition of the current facility and the redevelopment of the Ouellette Campus site to support services including outpatient mental health.

Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare will resume responsibility of the site and services at this location, returning to its traditional role of serving the region’s most marginalized, disenfranchised and vulnerable populations.

“The healthcare transformation plan that is unfolding is an opportunity to revitalize the “heart and soul” of the downtown core. This is all about taking care of our own, much like the legacy created 127 years ago through the efforts of Rev. Wagner and the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph.” says Janice Kaffer, President and CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

HDGH already has plans to open a Transitional Stability Centre on Ouellette Ave. for mental health patients who are in crisis, but do not require hospitalization. The lease on that site will expire around the same time as the new acute care facility opens, allowing HDGH to move the centre to a permanent home for outpatient mental health services at the Ouellette site.

The mental health complex will be the anchor program at this site. Through a partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, HDGH will work to enhance the patient experience, as a hospital and transitional expert.

The 10-acre and fully accessible downtown campus is full of potential! HDGH is looking forward to the opportunity to creating new partnerships and working toward a community hub in the downtown core. The idea is to bring together key services to address both crisis intervention and more chronic illness prevention and treatment.

The proposal is not about bricks and mortar, it is a truly transformative plan. The combination of services proposed at the Tayfour and the Ouellette site will allow HDGH to have a presence in the downtown core, relieve pressure in the emergency department at the new acute care site and strengthen community partnerships.

This opens the doors to many possibilities according to Claudia den Boer Grima, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor Essex Branch. Plans are already in place to partner with CHMA to improve transitions in mental health and addictions care.

“This proposal for a Community Hub provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring together all partners in the system,” says den Boer Grima.

“We now have a chance to think about how we can use this opportunity to strengthen the connections between health care, education, policing, judicial systems, etc., to better serve some of the community’s most vulnerable.”

Although parts of this plan are many years down the road, planning for the new model of care is already underway. In the coming months, members of the public will once again be asked to add their voices to the discussion of the future of our healthcare. Plans are in the works for community town halls looking at the need and capacity for a Health and Wellness Community Hub at the Ouellette site. Stay tuned for more details on this exciting opportunity!