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New PACT team enhances access to mental health services

new PACT team
The new PACT team will operate out of the new Winnipeg West ACCESS centre, which will open this spring on the grounds of the Grace Hospital.
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Rising to the Challenge

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Thursday, April 17, 2014

Helping people living with a mental illness and their families will be the focus of a new Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team, Health Minister Erin Selby announced today.

“Introducing a third PACT team within Winnipeg will increase access to leading edge mental health services,” said Minister Selby. “It is important for families to have access to appropriate and modern recovery-based services and supports that result in the best possible outcomes.”

Winnipeg’s third PACT team will operate out of the new ACCESS Winnipeg West centre, which will open this spring on the grounds at Grace General Hospital.

“Community-based rehabilitation services such as PACT are associated with substantially better outcomes for mental health patients than long-term hospital treatment,” said Dr. Murray Enns, Medical Director of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s Mental Health Program. “PACT teams are proven to improve the health and quality of life for clients, while reducing hospital stays, substance abuse and the use of crisis services.”

PACT teams provide services for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, and other issues such as homelessness or substance abuse. The team provides comprehensive treatment, rehabilitation and intervention services and is considered a leading-practice model that has been carefully defined, documented and evaluated.

“This community-based program will also help improve patient flow through more appropriate use of hospital-based resources and reduced long-stay hospital admissions,” said Arlene Wilgosh, President & CEO of the Winnipeg Health Region.

With the addition of the PACT team, rehabilitation services currently provided through the extended treatment unit (ETU) at the Grace General Hospital will be phased out. The unit will eventually close as part of the redevelopment of the hospital.

“Learning to navigate life with a mental illness can be challenging,” said Teri Masson, mother of a PACT client.  “With the PACT team in my corner, I’m more confident than ever that my son is getting the support he needs to be independent.”

In the interim, the acute care resources currently supporting the ETU will remain in place and will be refocused to meet the care needs of patients transitioning from acute mental health care services to alternate care settings.

“We are greatly encouraged to see this investment in community services through increased PACT teams,” said Nicole Chammartin, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Winnipeg Region.  “Continuing to move towards expanded rehabilitation-focused community services is important and we hope this will lead to further investments to create a robust mental health system in Manitoba.”

The third PACT team is expected to begin taking clients in west Winnipeg in the summer, the minister said.  The new PACT team further complements other health service improvements in development for west Winnipeg including a new emergency department and MRI at Grace Hospital, a new ACCESS Centre set to open this spring and plans for a QuickCare Clinic.

The minister noted the addition of the new PACT team supports the implementation of Rising to the Challenge, the province’s strategic plan for the mental health and well-being of Manitobans, by providing recovery-based supports and services.

For more information on the plan, visit www.gov.mb.ca/healthyliving/mh/challenge.html.

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