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Changes to Withdrawal Management Service Intake Hours

Posted Apr 22nd, 2024

Ensuring our patients have access to safe and timely care is a top priority for Niagara Health.

To optimize our resources within the current team at our Withdrawal Management Service, Niagara Health will be changing our operating model at the St. Catharines, Welland Avenue site. Effective today, Monday April 22, the intake hours will be adjusted to 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday to Sunday. Patients will continue to have access to outpatient services seven days a week and will continue to have access to short stay beds.

Niagara Health is currently experiencing staffing challenges across the organization, particularly within our mental health and addiction programs. We are aggressively recruiting for RPNs, RNs, Clerks and program workers across our Mental Health and Addiction programs.

“Our mental health and addiction staff play a crucial role in providing support to individuals in crisis,” says Heather Paterson, Executive Vice-President, Clinical Operations. “We are actively examining our processes to address these challenges and make necessary adjustments to optimize patient care.”

The needs of the populations served at our WMS have significantly evolved post-pandemic, with an increase in complex patients requiring multiple substance withdrawal services. While these staffing challenges are not unique to WMS, staff can be at risk if they do not have the correct staffing levels and the right mix of healthcare professionals to manage patient’s needs.

This carefully thought-out decision was based on learnings and best practices at withdrawal management services across Ontario. Dedicated intake hours will ensure all patients are seen by the appropriate mix of healthcare professionals and have an appropriate care plan.

“Our priority is to ensure that our staff have the resources and support they need to continue delivering safe and much-needed services to our community,” says Laura Farrelly, Director, Emergency and Urgent Care and Interim Director, Mental Health and Addictions. “We are dedicated to their well-being and will continue to provide support and resources to ensure they can effectively care for our patients.”

Outside of the intake hours, clients seeking emergent and urgent withdrawal management support are asked to go to the Emergency Department.

Niagara Health System