October 18, 2017

Temporary Mental Health Assessment Unit Approved for the Royal University Hospital

People needing urgent mental health care in Saskatoon will soon have access to a new unit while being assessed at the Royal University Hospital (RUH) ER.

The Saskatoon Health Region is establishing a temporary mental health assessment unit in Saskatoon.  This unit will be renovated with a generous $1 million donation from the Dubé family through the Royal University Hospital Foundation.

The new unit will be in operation until the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (JPCH) is opened in late 2019, as the JPCH adult emergency room will include private spaces that are more suitable to mental health emergency care, in addition to mental health assessment services.

“Our government recognizes the importance of providing appropriate and timely access to mental health services,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said.  “We commend the efforts of the RUH Foundation and its donors in raising funds for this project and their commitment to improving emergency services for those facing mental health issues.  We also thank the Dubé family for their incredibly generous donation for this project.”

The Assessment Unit will allow care for up to seven patients at a time.  This unit provides a safer, more appropriate space for patients, ensuring their surrounding environment does not further impact their mental well-being.

“Mental health and addiction issues touch the lives of many Saskatchewan people,” Saskatoon Health Region CEO Dan Florizone said.  “With this new unit, I am confident mental health and addictions patients in this province will receive the best care in the most appropriate space.  Our patients not only need safety, privacy and comfort, they deserve it.  I want to thank the Dubé family, the Ministry of Health and the Royal University Hospital Foundation for partnering with Saskatoon Health Region to make this much-needed unit a reality.”

“Royal University Hospital Foundation is extremely pleased by today’s announcement and that our donors’ support of the new Mental Health Assessment Unit will be bringing more appropriate care to mental health patients arriving at Royal University Hospital’s Emergency Department,” Royal University Hospital Foundation CEO Arla Gustafson said.

“Irene and I cannot think of anything more important in health care today than ensuring mental health patients receive the care they require,” donor Leslie Dubé said.  “We welcome today’s announcement and the expansion of mental health services that will help improve the patient and family experience as well as relieve pressure on the existing Emergency Department and the Irene and Leslie Dubé Centre for Mental Health.”

Renovations to support the unit in Royal University Hospital will begin in October 2017, and are expected to take three to four months to complete.  The renovation will also include improvements to the two existing secure mental health rooms at the RUH.

The establishment of this unit supports the Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan recommendations, with a particular focus around reducing wait times and improving responses in emergency departments for mental health and addictions issues.  Saskatoon Health Region will absorb the operating costs related to this project.  Capital costs will be fully funded by the RUH Foundation.