Virtual Psychiatric Care
Award Date: 2016
Project Lead(s): Uri Wolf, Psychiatrist
Project Title: Virtual Care - Bedside Telemedicine in Community Settings - Geriatric Psychiatry Community Service (GPCS)
What is the issue?
It is difficult for many older adults to access specialized mental health services. Baycrest provides one of seven community outreach teams serving a large area within the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network. Our Geriatric Psychiatry Community Services Program provides in-home assessments and follow-up visits for older adults who are unable to access traditional services.
What did we do?
We provided psychiatric services to older adults experiencing mental health challenges using the Ontario Telemedicine Network. We did in-home assessments and consultations for individuals living in a retirement home during two study periods: May to July 2016, and April to November 2017. We conducted 31 visits for 22 individuals as follows: nineteen visits with case managers in home settings and 12 consultations with care staff at a retirement home.
What did we find?
The telemedicine approach worked well. Older adults and caregivers were very satisfied and said they would be willing to use it again. The telemedicine visits helped caregivers understand their loved ones better and provide better care. Wait times for mental health services for older adults decreased.