Service and Spirit Will Live On as PHP Era Comes to an End

People are at the centre of everything we do at Ontario Shores.

Our duty is to support and treat people living with mental illness while providing them with the tools to live a meaningful life in the community.

And how do we do that? By relying on people.

People who choose to work at Ontario Shores do so because they have an overwhelming desire to make a difference in a person’s life. Regardless of their role, the commitment and dedication to help others is on display each and every day. Sometimes we see it in how a nurse or social worker finds creative ways to connect with a patient who might be feeling isolated and resistant to treatment. Sometimes we see it when an environmental services team member goes out of their way to help a visitor find their way to a loved one’s unit.

It’s this level of compassion, empathy and dedication that makes me proud to work in a field where people are truly the organization’s greatest asset.

Being in the people business also makes for challenging times when tough decisions need to be made.

Ontario Shores recently unveiled its operating plan for our next fiscal year, which begins April 1, 2021. One of the services impacted by the plan is our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), which will be phased out as a stand-alone service at Ontario Shores. The resources of the PHP will be re-allocated to outpatient services and to recovery college.

We created PHP 6 years ago as a transition program for inpatients with schizophrenia and psychotic disorders who were being discharged from Ontario Shores. Over time, as the transition supports were built in to the inpatient units and other parts of the organization, the types of patients being served in PHP and the treatment offerings have changed.    

Currently, we see an overlap to the services provided within our Anxiety and Mood Clinic and Complex General Psychiatry Clinic with that of PHP. We also see an overlap with the offerings of the recovery college. By re-aligning the resources of PHP to these services, we are aspiring to ensure the best evidence-based offerings and alignment of resources.

We must always strive every day to find the best clinical alignment to address the needs of patients and families, and high demand of services/wait times... The mental health system is complicated and constantly evolving. We cannot be afraid of making tough decisions in order to ensure the care we provide is as robust as possible and able to meet the demands of the community in a responsible way.

For some members of our community, phasing out PHP as a stand-alone service will be sad news. I understand and share your disappointment. However, please know that Ontario Shores has made this decision after a significant amount of deliberation and review of evidence and data.

Staff from PHP will be transitioned to Mood and Anxiety and Complex General Psychiatry Services; this will help us address the high demand for these services and continue to serve the people that have been served more recently in PHP. Staff will also be realigned to the Recovery College where they will continue to deliver recovery and self-management group programming to outpatients. While the name PHP will be retired, the elements that successfully brought people together will live on through Recovery College, which functions like a college by allowing patients to select the courses that will best align with their recovery goals. 

I also hope you will join me in thanking everyone who supported PHP over the last six years, including staff, patients and volunteers.

As is the case in our industry, we only go as far as our people take us. It was our people who made PHP what it was and it will be our people who take us to new heights in our relentless pursuit of the best possible care for people living with mental illness.