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Our clinicians bring the best to clients and colleagues across the globe

18/11/2022

Foundational to our delivery of excellent care is the commitment of our staff and medical staff to hone their skills and expand their knowledge.

This is particularly important for Assertive Community Teams (ACT) teams, who provide highly individualized services within a transdisciplinary team. Transdisciplinary means team members work both within their scope of practice and as a generalist to create unified service delivery with each client.

ACT clinicians deliver wrap around treatment, rehabilitation and support services in a community setting. Adapted for each client to experience their own version of recovery, services are for people who live with complex mental health or concurrent mental health and substance use (MHSU) challenges and who can benefit from care that is beyond outpatient programs. 

At VCH, we work closely with the Ministry of Health to lead the Provincial ACT Advanced Practice, an initiative that endeavors to create a provincial network of clinicians and leaders by creating capacity-building opportunities to ensure consistent and standardized services and care across the province. There are currently 32 ACT teams in the province. Over the last two years with support from the ministry, VCH expanded from five to seven teams; now, we now have teams in two communities of care.  

​Partners in professional development

Last month, the Provincial ACT Advanced Practice co-hosted a national conference in Muskoka, Ontario, in partnership with the Ontario Association for ACT and Flexible Assertive Community Teams (FACT), for ACT teams across Canada, as well as registrants from the United States and Netherlands.

​“We were very involved in planning the conference–from selecting topics and deciding the format of the conference to organizing speakers and funding," says Chrystal Chan, ACT Advanced Practice Clinical Planner at VCH. “For the 63 staff and speakers travelling from B.C., we were especially involved in organizing flights, hotels and transportation from the airport to the conference. We also worked with UBC to get CME credits for psychiatrists who attended."

More than 250 ACT service providers from various provinces attended the conference, which was the first in-person session since the COVID-19 pandemic started. From B.C., staff represented 30 of 32 ACT teams and all health authorities. VCH represented well with six of its seven teams in attendance.

“The ACT conference was a fantastic opportunity to share and explore ideas face to face with many ACT clinicians. Each team faces a unique set of challenges, but with that comes a unique set of solutions. I felt it was a safe and encouraging space to really pull apart and discuss some tougher issues and to also celebrate our services," says Kiara Shibley, Recreation Therapist, VCH ACT Team 4.

Participants received presentations about the upcoming federal legislation changes to medical assistance in dying care options and community risk and safety. They also heard from experts from B.C., including:

  • ​Dr. Daniel Vigo, BC ACT Advanced Practice Lead Psychiatrist and VCH Regional MHSU Medical Lead, who spoke about mandated treatment in the context of complex concurrent disorders and substance use disorder.

  • Kyle Jespersen, Program Manager, Insite in Vancouver, who spoke about the importance of safe consumption sites and ways to optimize the relationship between site staff and ACT Teams.

  • Dr. Vijay Seethapathy, Chief Medical Officer, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Service, who spoke about B.C.s first Forensic ACT Team.

What is next for ACT?

Our ACT Advanced Practice is excited to host the next national ACT conference from August 14 to 16, 2023 at the University of British Columbia and to continue to co-host a national virtual learning series for ACT teams in partnership with the Ontario Association for ACT and FACT.

SOURCE: Our clinicians bring the best to clients and colleagues across the globe ( )
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