Leadership with Sioux Lookout’s Meno Ya Win Health Centre say the construction of four new ‘safe rooms’ will help staff care for patients dealing with a mental health crisis safely.

Renovations are underway to build the new rooms for patients who are at high risk of self-injury or pose a danger to staff members – as the hospital also hopes to increase safety for staff members.

“Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre serves a large and diverse patient population with complex and unique mental health needs,” says Dr. Justin Bell, Chief of Mental Health and Addictions.

“Through expanding our emergency department to have more purpose-built mental health rooms, we will be able to more effectively provide care to individuals requiring acute mental health services in a setting that prioritizes their dignity and safety,” he explains.

The hospital explains that due to a limited amount of mental health facilities in the region, these safe secure spaces will create a temporary and safe environment for patients to be cared for before being transferred to another service provider.

“The creation of the additional secure spaces within the emergency department will enable the hospital staff to maintain a safer environment, enabling time for de-escalation, in both acute mental health and addictions situations,” explains says Dean Osmond, Acting President and CEO of SLMHC.

“The safe rooms will be designed to ensure patients cannot physically harm themselves, and they will allow for observation of patients from outside the room in a no-harm approach to staff. Patient and staff safety is paramount to maintain a good system of care,” he adds.

The emergency room will remain open 24/7 during renovation work. No timeline on the project was released by the Meno Ya Win Health Centre.