Leading-edge mental health and addictions care model launches at St. Paul’s Hospital

THE next step in innovative care for people living with mental health and addictions challenges has been unveiled at St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver.

The St. Paul’s Hospital HUB, a first-of-its-kind health-care model in Canada, provides a protective umbrella of wraparound services designed to support patients, no matter where they are on their journey to wellness and hope.

On July 17, the Emergency Department HUB (HUB ED) and Vancouver Police Foundation Transitional Care Centre (VPF TCC) officially launched, joining the recently opened St. Paul’s Rapid Access Addiction Clinic (RAAC) and the Overdose Prevention Site (OPS). These four components create a specialized, multi-faceted model designed to meet people’s individual needs.

“A mental health and addictions system of care where every door is the right door, and where people ask for help once and get help fast, is the system we are building toward in British Columbia,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “The wraparound services being provided through the St. Paul’s Hospital HUB brings the right doors together in one judgement-free location, connecting people to the supports and services they need to effectively and seamlessly help them along their pathway to hope and healing.”

This model is well-suited for St. Paul’s Hospital, which treats the largest number of patients with mental health and / or substance-use challenges in British Columbia, including nearly 11,000 mental health and / or substance-use related emergency department visits each year.

The HUB ED has up to 10 beds dedicated to rapid assessment, treatment and stabilization of mental health and / or substance-use-related disorders. This will not only provide better care to people in need, it will also decrease emergency room congestion and wait times. Patients in the ED can then be connected by a referral to the RAAC, which provides outpatient medical support for people with substance-use disorder, or to the Overdose Outreach Team, an existing service that connects people who have recently experienced and/or are at high risk for overdose, to addictions care and support.

Patients may also be referred to the VPF TCC, a post-release, safe short-stay facility that connects people to community care and social supports, like housing and income support, before they return to the community. Just outside of the hospital is St. Paul’s OPS. In partnership with RainCity Housing, the OPS provides access to trained staff and peer support workers who assist people with safe substance use in a judgment-free setting, and connect people with emergency care, if needed.

A key component of this model is ensuring that Indigenous peoples receive culturally appropriate and culturally safe care through the integration of the Indigenous health team and connections to Aboriginal healing programs. In addition, Indigenous artist Jerry Whitehead has partnered with Providence Health Care to create safe spaces through artwork for the HUB ED, VPF TCC and the RAAC. The art fosters a warm and welcoming environment for all, and reflects the importance of Indigenous culture in the hospital and care model.

The St. Paul’s HUB is the product of the investment and innovation of a number of partners, including the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the Ministry of Health, Providence Health Care, the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health, the Vancouver Police Department and Vancouver Police Foundation, St. Paul’s Foundation and Streetohome Foundation.