From time to time, people will quote the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. At Almonte General Hospital, we know that “it takes great partnerships to care for a community”. We are fortunate to have many wonderful partners with whom we work to collectively do our best for the people we serve.
One such partnership is the Lanark County L.E.A.D Team, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Led by Lanark County Mental Health, eleven partners are working together to provide better care for emotionally disturbed persons in crisis. The partners are Brockville General Hospital – Elmgrove & ER Services, Carleton Place District Memorial Hospital, Distress Centre Lanark Leeds & Grenville, Lanark County Mental Health, Lanark County Ontario Provincial Police, Lanark County Paramedic Service, Open Doors for Lanark Children & Youth, Perth & Smiths Falls District Hospital, Smiths Falls Police Service, TriCounty Addictions Services and Almonte General Hospital.
The concept for the L.E.A.D Team, described in its protocol, is the establishment of partnerships “to develop and implement safe, proactive, preventative methods of containing emotionally explosive situations involving emotionally disturbed persons that could lead to violence”.
Goals of the Team include educating team members about mental illness and skills for de-escalation, information gathering and evaluating a mentally ill individual’s social support system; reducing the possibility of tragic consequences during interactions between the Police and emotionally disturbed persons; and stimulating public understanding and support.
A comprehensive response procedure is also part of the Protocol, which is signed off annually by all of the partners.
As active members of the partnership, Almonte General Hospital staff use the skills and techniques learned in L.E.A.D. training on a daily basis with patients who arrive in the Emergency Department in any number of ways – not just those who have had interactions with the police. The staff have noted the benefits of the collaboration between partners and of everybody “speaking the same language”.
Almonte General Hospital is proud to be celebrating 10 years as a member of the L.E.A.D. Team. We congratulate Lanark County Mental Health, the OPP and Smiths Falls Police and the rest of our partners and look forward to many more years of working together.
Mary Wilson Trider is President and CEO of Almonte General Hospital