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October 21st - CHEO offers vital care with new drive-up Mental Health Vitals Clinic

COVID-19 has caused many services to pause or stop but doing so can be detrimental when it comes to the mental health and well-being of children and youth. To safely meet the needs of children and youth who are accessing CHEO mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, CHEO has transformed its Montreal Road location into a drive-up clinic for monitoring vital signs — a necessary in-person service needed to provide the best care possible. It supplements our ongoing virtual care and is designed to keep everyone as safe as possible with masking, physical distancing and limited time indoors.

“Many of kids and teens we care for need this in-person service and can’t keep waiting for it,” said Dr. Marjorie Robb, CHEO’s acting Chief of Psychiatry. “We are happy to be able to provide this important, in-person service in a way that makes them feel comfortable coming in, and is convenient, quick and, above all, safe.”

The new drive-up clinic complements the 94% of CHEO’s outpatient mental health visits currently being done virtually.

“Virtual care can’t do everything,” added Dr. Robb. Regular vital-sign check-ups are an essential part of caring for children and youth with mental health needs, especially those who are taking medications.”

Pre-pandemic this would have been done during a full, in-person visit. These check-ups assess height, weight, heart rate and blood pressure, and allow our care team to see how a child or youth is adjusting to a new medication, monitor for any negative side-effects, order bloodwork if necessary, and detect potential problems early.

With the launch of our new drive-up Mental Health Vitals Clinic, children and youth are able to quickly and easily have this important vital-sign check-in. The drive-up clinic is by appointment only, for children and youth referred by our Mental Health team.

On the day of their appointment, families fill out CHEO’s online self-screening and then go to our Montreal Road location. Once there, they call a designated number and go into a room that has direct access from the outside. Only one child or youth and their parent or caregiver goes into that room for an appointment at a time. The waiting room is reserved for anyone arriving by transit.

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©2019 by Jan Harder.