While it’s still a few years away, a project that would see all of the region’s mental heath-care beds under the same roof at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare is one step closer to reality, hospital officials announced Tuesday.
The hospital has reached a milestone in the planning process, what it’s calling Stage 1.3, which came with new drawings and concepts for what the mental health unit could look like.
“This is great for the region. This is a system improvement,” said Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital CEO Bill Marra. “We happen to be the responsible agency to oversee it, but we think it’s a milestone movement forward for all of Windsor-Essex County.”
The project was first identified about 10 years ago Marra said, but funding for the project was first dedicated in the 2021 provincial budget. The project will move the 68 mental health beds currently at Windsor Regional Hospital to Hotel-Dieu.
The mental health bed expansion project will provide a single-point of care for patients, and all hospital-based in-patient mental health services will be located at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, said Dr. Andrea Steen, the hospital’s chief of staff and vice-president of medical affairs, mental health, addictions and quality and performance.
“That means that there is one single point of entry for our mental health and addiction services and the goal being to improve access and care,” Steen said. “This means that patients and clients only have to tell their story once, their connections can be built with staff and they can have their needs personalized to unique care plans.”
Steen said the urgent psychiatric crisis service will be unique, as currently only the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto has a similar facility.
Another key piece of this project submission is the proposal for an urgent psychiatric crisis service — a place for first responders to bring people in mental health crises.
“We are here today to take another step on this road map: To provide 68 acute care beds for mental health patients, to build an urgent psychiatric crisis service and to relocate and renovate the providing of inpatient and rehabilitative care,” said Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Andrew Dowie. “This is truly a huge investment in our community.”
The service will look more like a hospital room, officials said, designed to be a comforting environment for people in crisis.
The project also includes the relocation and renovation of inpatient rehabilitative services and adds ultrasound and CT services.
This project isn’t tied to the new hospital project on County Road 42, Marra said, and there is no shared timeline or funding.
It could be anywhere from six to eight years before this project is fully operational, said Steen.
Marra said the submission was sent to the province yesterday and now a review process, typically from three to five months, begins. Marra said the project could be three to four years from construction, which he estimated at another two years before it’s operational.
“Once the stage 1.3 is approved, then we go to the next level,” Marra said. “The big dollars obviously are going to be around construction and we don’t have a cost estimate for that yet. Clearly when you’re three or four years old from construction, you have to be patient and cross that out closer to when you break ground. So we’ll see what that looks like in the future.”