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Ontario Shores gets funding

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences has received a funding boost from the provincial government.

Durham MPP Lindsey Park was recently joined by area colleagues to announce $3.4 million in new funding to the health organization.

The money is to go to Ontario Shores’ geriatric unit, and to the continuation of their 20-bed specialized psychiatric unit.

“In order to end hallway healthcare, we must support home and community care programs,” said Park in a press release. “Continuing these programs at the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences is part of achieving that in Durham Region.”

Ontario Shores is a public teaching hospital located in Whitby, which provides a range of specialized assessment and treatment services for those living with mental illness.

“We opened the doors to this unit in February 2018, and this is an inpatient unit which has 20 beds, and we accept individuals who are over the age of 65 with dementia and severe responsive behaviours from our acute care partners,” explains Andra Duff-Woskosky, director, administrative, geriatric program and pharmacy. “They pull patients from the emergency department, as well as patients in acute care.”

She adds everything they do at Ontario Shores is specialized in part because they are a tertiary hospital.

“Our specific specialty that we have in our geriatric transitional unit is psycho-geriatrics,” explains Duff-Woskosky. “The most responsible provider on that unit is a geriatric psychiatrist.”

This all came about after Ontario Shores submitted a proposal to the Central East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

“We submitted a proposal to the LHIN in order to satisfy a growing need in our community,” she explains. “And also to alleviate some of the ALC (alternative level in care) pressures on our local acute care partners.”

Duff-Woskosky says the unit has been successful, and she hopes the funding will continue in future years so Ontario Shores can continue to help this “very vulnerable” part of the population.