Electroconvulsive Therapy Clinic

We provide outpatient electroconvulsive therapy at VGH. Our program is intended for moderately to severely depressed individuals living in the community. 

What is ECT

Contemporary ECT is a safe and effective medical procedure involving the production of a controlled therapeutic seizure while the individual is asleep. This is achieved by sending brief electrical impulses through the skull into the brain via electrodes. The procedure lasts about twenty minutes and is generally well tolerated.

Benefits to the Individual

ECT is often used to treat severe depression and other psychiatric conditions when immediate relief of symptoms is needed or when other treatments have not worked.

Willow Pavilion

805 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V5Z 1M
Phone: (604) 675-2476
Fax: (604) 675-2464

Hours of operation

Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. ? 4 p.m. 

Referral

?A psychiatrist or other physician referral is required. You will meet with a psychiatrist and nurse who will assess whether this treatment is right for you. Risks and benefits will be reviewed with you and you are encouraged to ask questions. Our staff will complete various mental status exams and mood scales with you. You may be asked to complete self-rated scales as well. You must not drive a vehicle and we highly recommend avoiding any important decision-making regarding finances or legal matters on the day of treatments.

Download the ECT Referral Form

View the ECT Outpatient Information

  • Must include name, referring physician, PHN, psychiatric history, including past treatment trials, medical history, current medications, associated outpatient psychiatrist (if applicable)

  • All individuals receiving ECT must have concurrent psychiatric follow up available during the treatment period.

  • Exceptions can be made by the outpatient supervising ECT psychiatrist at our clinic

Parking & transportation

Parking is available at the hospital parkade or at the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Building, limited street parking, City Square.

There is a wheelchair-accessible overpass from the VGH parkade at Level 4 and a crosswalk at Level 2.

Eligibility

Potential individuals who can receive an ECT include those who:

  • are diagnosed with moderate to severe depression or other psychiatric disorder known to respond to ECT

  • are age 19 or above

  • have history of poor response to or are intolerant of medications

  • have suboptimal response to repetitive transcranial magnetic therapy

Factors Which May Exclude a Person from Receiving ECT: 

  • concurrent substance use disorder

  • associated personality disorder

  • severe medical illness or frailty

Resources

ECT Booklet

ECT Outpatient Information

ECT Referral Form

ECT Discharge Instructions (English)

ECT Discharge Instruction (French)

ECT Discharge Instructions (Punjabi)

ECT Discharge Instructions (Simplified Chinese)

ECT Discharge Instructions (Traditional Chinese)

Videos

  • Electroconvulsive Therapy - Canadian Electroconvulsive Therapy Survey and Canadian Electroconvulsive Therapy Standards (Available in English, French, Punjabi, and Cantonese)

  • Videos of ECT Procedure - International Society for ECT and Neurostimulation

  • ECT 101 - Resources for patients, families, nursing students and interns.