Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) is expanding access to virtual mental health support for patients. Thanks in large part to a generous $50,000 donation from RBC Foundation, patients can now receive timely and clinically- appropriate care from the comfort of their own home.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were forced to shut down our programs in March, presenting us with an opportunity to re-evaluate how we provide our services” says Brian Irving, manager, Addiction Services and North Simcoe Muskoka RAAM services. “To prevent a lapse in care, we transformed a number of RVH’s Mental Health and Addiction outpatient programs for virtual care delivery to ensure patients continue to receive mental health support during the pandemic.”
RVH’s Adult Mental Health Day Program and the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinics (RAAM) brought all counselling appointments online through the use of telemedicine. Thanks to a generous donation by RBC, the Day Program was able to make considerable changes by developing online learning modules to guide patients.
“This new method of service delivery removes many barriers to treatment, including parking costs and transportation. It provides patients with the aftercare and support they deserve,” says Irving. “Patients can now receive the care they require in a convenient way so we’re very grateful for RBC’s donation. It will help us expand access to this important programming now and long into the future.”
The introduction of virtual care has reduced the Adult Mental Health Day Program’s waitlist by 85 per cent and brought the average wait time from eight months to 11 days. The number of patients attending follow-up appointments has also increased in both programs.
“When we heard about RVH’s intention to offer more tools and counselling virtually in the Barrie community, we knew we had to help, especially right now as more people are struggling,” says Marjolaine Hudon, Regional President – Ontario North and East, RBC Royal Bank. “By shifting so quickly, RVH has addressed a growing need and offers greater access to specialized mental health services.”
The success of the program’s virtual delivery has surpassed expectations. Many patients are finding this new model of care more accessible with one patient from the Day Program stating, “The online platform has made it much easier to attend. Also, with my social anxiety, I feel that it is easier to open up and participate using this format.”
If you would like to support patient care at RVH, you can make a donation online at www.RVHHero.ca