Skip to content
News & Updates from Niagara Health

Share This Page

Telepsychiatry Pilot Project underway in Fort Erie

Posted May 31st, 2011

apid Referral Outpatient Program helps those with cognitive disorders and dementia

Mental illness affects hundreds of thousands of people every year in the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (HNHB LHIN). The impact is enormous on those experiencing mental illness directly, on their family members, friends and colleagues in the workplace.

The Niagara Health System (NHS), St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH), the Town of Fort Erie and the HNHB LHIN have joined together on a pilot project offering telepsychiatry services for adults 18 years of age and older in the Fort Erie area. The project is operating out of the Douglas Memorial Hospital (DMH) site.

The pilot project involves a live videoconference consultation between a client at the DMH site (with a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) on hand) and a psychiatrist in Hamilton at SJHH. The client, who is referred to the project by their family physician, can remain in their community while still benefitting from the expertise of a psychiatrist.



  • The pilot project began April 4, 2011 and is slated to run for six months.
  • At the completion of the pilot an evaluation of the service will be undertaken involving NHS, SJHH, and the HNHB LHIN.
  • To date, seven individuals have benefitted from the telepsychiatry pilot project.
  • One in five Canadians – 280,000 people in our LHIN – are affected by mental illness at some time in their lives.
  • Videoconference capabilities are provided through the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). OTN is one of the largest telemedicine networks in the world and using two-way videoconferencing, OTN provides access to care for patients in every hospital and hundreds of other health care locations across the province.


This pilot project is a fantastic example of providers and a community working together to serve the needs of our citizens. People living with mental health issues need to be close to their support network of family, friends and health care providers. Providing the right care at the right place is something we strive for as a LHIN and using state-of-the-art technology at the Douglas Memorial site has made that possible.

- Donna Cripps, CEO, HNHB LHIN

Psychiatric treatments and service provision have come a long way in recent years; this is a great opportunity for the people of Fort Erie to benefit from these advances

- Dr. Jonathon Crowson, Psychiatrist, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

he new telepsychiatry clinic at the Douglas Memorial Site has been well received by our patients. The clinic is an excellent example of what can be achieved when we work together as partners. This new clinic provides care that is truly patient-centred and improves local access to mental health services in Fort Erie.

- Dr. Sue Matthews, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Niagara Health System

This pilot project is great news for the residents of Fort Erie and their families. For those people and families dealing with mental health issues to be able to receive the right care in our own community at the Douglas Memorial Hospital is a positive step forward in our efforts to provide more health care services close to home.

- Doug Martin, Mayor Town of Fort Erie


Visit the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website here, for more information about work underway to create a coordinated and integrated system of mental health services.

Find out what the HNHB LHIN is doing about Mental Health and Addictions, click here.

Learn more about the Ontario Telemedicine Network here.

Niagara Health System