Report Shows Revolving Door for Addiction and Mental Health Patients

The CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital is calling for a more efficient and proactive approach to battling addiction and helping those with mental health issues.

A staggering 40% of patients treated for drug addiction and 20% dealing mental health issues wind up right back in emergency rooms within 30 days, that's according to the Ending Hallway Medicine Report.  Those numbers were discussed at Windsor Regional's Board of Directors meeting Thursday night.

David Musyj says the long wait for follow up treatment after a visit to the ER is a major hurdle for people dealing with addiction and mental health issues — they can't be kept in hospital against their will and many choose to leave after seeking treatment.

"The report identifies that it's an Ontario problem, we're not alone with respect to that. Hopefully in the next report they start identifying what some of the solutions are, which clearly is going to be a clearer system that has some focus on immediate help for those who want help because it's still voluntary," he says. 

He tells AM800 News the numbers show the current system is creating a revolving door.

"Opening more inpatient beds isn't the solution a lot of times; you just keep making the problem worse. So it's looking at how we can become more efficient and how we're caring for patients now and have we adapted to the changing needs of these patients that are coming through or doors because they are changing," says Musyj.

It's a vicious cycle that won't end until wait-times for follow-up services are decreased and preventive programs address problems before they get worse, he added.

"From a patient's perspective when they have to have access to the system, maybe they don't even get to the hospital because they can access these systems to avoid the hospital. So we don't wait until they get hospitalized to provide these services, we provide them in advance," he says.

Musyj says investment from the government is a positive step, but he hopes the province's next report will look at how effectively those resources are being used.