Withdrawal Management Services at the St. Catharines and Welland Sites are changing effective April 22, 2024 due to staffing challenges.

Niagara Health is adjusting the intake hours at the two sites to: Monday – Sunday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Patients will continue to have access to outpatient services seven days a week and will continue to have access to short stay beds.

In a press release, it states:

Niagara Health is currently experiencing staffing challenges across the organization, particularly within our mental health and addiction programs. We are aggressively recruiting for RPNs, RNs, Clerks and program workers across our Mental Health and Addiction programs.

“Our mental health and addiction staff play a crucial role in providing support to individuals in crisis,” says Heather Paterson, Executive Vice-President, Clinical Operations. “We are actively examining our processes to address these challenges and make necessary adjustments to optimize patient care.”

Needs Have Changed After Pandemic

The release says that the needs of the populations served at the WMS (Withdrawal Management Services) have significantly evolved post-pandemic, with an increase in complex patients requiring multiple substance withdrawal services. While these staffing challenges are not unique to WMS, staff can be at risk if they do not have the correct staffing levels and the right mix of healthcare professionals to manage patient’s needs.

This carefully thought-out decision was based on learnings and best practices at withdrawal management services across Ontario. Dedicated intake hours will ensure all patients are seen by the appropriate mix of healthcare professionals and have an appropriate care plan.

“Our priority is to ensure that our staff have the resources and support they need to continue delivering safe and much-needed services to our community,” says Laura Farrelly, Director, Emergency and Urgent Care and Interim Director, Mental Health and Addictions. “We are dedicated to their well-being and will continue to provide support and resources to ensure they can effectively care for our patients.”

Outside of the intake hours, clients seeking emergent and urgent withdrawal management support are asked to go to the Emergency Department.

For more information visit the website: https://www.niagarahealth.on.ca/site/addictionrecoveryservices

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