Press release

A safe space for patients seeking emergency mental health and substance use treatment opens at Lions Gate Hospital

North Vancouver, B.C. – Residents living on the North Shore and Coastal regions in need of emergency mental health and substance use treatment will have a new safe and secure place to receive care as Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) opens the new Psychiatric Emergency Assessment and Treatment (PEAT) area at Lions Gate Hospital (LGH).

Located within the Emergency Department (ED), the PEAT area will provide a safe, secure space within the department for immediate triage and stabilization of patients presenting with mental health and substance use issues. 

“When people are in crisis because of mental health and addictions challenges, we want them to be met with care and compassion,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “The new Psychiatric Emergency Assessment and Treatment area at Lions Gate Hospital is an important part of adding more treatment and care options for people in Vancouver and the region.”

The new PEAT area consists of eight dedicated spaces for patients experiencing mental health and substance use issues and will be staffed with two mental health and substance use (MHSU) nurses and one emergency department nurse. There are approximately 65,000 patients treated annually in the LGH ED and 3,500 clients seeking care for mental health and substance use issues at the hospital every year.

“It’s vital that people get the care they need in a safe environment,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The new space at Lions Gate Hospital will provide patients, visitors, staff and medical staff a safe and calming area when it comes to mental health and substance use treatment.”

“When people are in crisis because of mental health and addictions challenges, we want them to be met with care and compassion...”

- Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

ED nurses will work alongside MHSU trained nurses in a collaborative partnership. This unique staffing model will ensure that people receive comprehensive care from multiple perspectives. The new open layout will create clear lines of sight, making it easier for frontline staff to safely care for patients and rapidly determine any change in their physical or mental health.

“The new Psychiatric Emergency Assessment and Treatment space at Lions Gate Hospital will provide patients with a safe and therapeutic space to receive mental health and substance use-related care,” said Ira Roness, Director of North Shore and Sea to Sky Mental Health and Substance Use Services. “The space has been designed so that patients will have their mental health, substance use, and physical concerns addressed by our highly skilled PEAT and Emergency Department nurses, leading to improved continuity of care and ultimately better care.”

Located in the northwest corner of the ED, the unit will have soothing décor and lighting. The revamped space will be able to accommodate up to eight patients, and will be equipped with a combination of stretchers and lounge chairs. Other special features include a patient care lounge, a room for private patient/family meetings, and safety mechanisms to protect patients and staff.

“The demand for mental health and substance use services have increased substantially in our community and PEAT is an exciting advancement to support the changing needs of our patients,” said Judy Savage, President and CEO of Lions Gate Hospital (LGH) Foundation. “We're grateful to our donors who have recognized the value of specialized mental health and substance use care in the emergency department. The availability of PEAT is good news for our patients, staff and the North Shore.”

The new enhanced services were made possible through a fundraising campaign by LGH Foundation and support by the Province. A total of $3.8 million was raised to fund renovations and equipment in the ED through the generosity of more than 2,000 community donors.

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