A new temporary Withdrawal Management facility opens on the sixth floor of Bluewater Health's Russell St. building. January 12, 2018 (Photo by Melanie Irwin)

Withdrawal Management Site Selection Begins (VIDEO & GALLERY)

Bluewater Health has formally announced its progression to the next phase of developing a permanent 24 bed Residential Withdrawal Management facility.

CEO Mike Lapaine says the site selection process is now underway.

“Lennard [Commercial] Realty, Bob Drizis, is our lead on that,” says Lapaine. “He will be issuing an RFI today [Friday], a request for information, to potential sites and they will be responding over the next couple of weeks.”

He says enquiries will be accepted until January 23.

“We hope to hone in on where the permanent site would be by toward the end of February, start of March, so it will be a relatively quick process in terms of site selection,” says Lapaine.

Lapaine shared the news during a tour of the new temporary Withdrawal Management facility Friday.

Mental Health & Addictions Vice President Paula Reaume-Zimmer says the seven beds, on the sixth floor of the hospital’s Russell St. building, open to clients Monday.

“Within two months of us receiving the funding letter, we’ve had a lot of work to do,” says Reaume-Zimmer. “To open Monday is just a fantastic outcome that we’re excited to deliver to the community that’s way overdue.”

Reaume-Zimmer expects the beds to fill up very quickly.

“They will go through a very brief screening process and then they will be told if we have a bed available,” she says. “If we do, it will be coordinated that they come directly to this unit. If there’s not a bed available, then they will be on a short wait list or will be advised of a time they’re expecting and then will be directed to come here.”

Reaume-Zimmer says community withdrawal management workers and emergency department staff will also help facilitate access to the program.

“This is acute withdrawal management,” she says. “This is the first step often toward the recovery journey, offering a safe place for individuals who may not be able to proceed down that plan in their own environment.”

She says they will be working closely with residential treatment partners, Westover Treatment Centre [in Thamesville] and House of Sophrosyne [in Windsor], to coordinate a handoff.

“So they can leave our facility and preferably go directly to theirs,” says Reaume-Zimmer.

Clients wishing to access the Residential Withdrawal Management Centre can call 519-464-4487 to learn more about the services available.