Montfort’s anxiety program came at the perfect time. For several years now, workers at the Family Health Team in Hearst have been talking about setting up a group on anxiety, but resources and time were lacking. It was wonderful to have a chance to see Sonia and Sylvie in action; they are amazing and they taught me so much. I’m coming away from this experience with as many tools as the participants!
I have a tendency to isolate myself. But having a chance to listen to others made me want to participate in activities with people who are experiencing similar problems.
Thanks to telehealth,
people across Ontario can now access
services in French at Montfort.
At the beginning of 2018, Montfort was approached by the Family Health Team in Hearst to find out if we could offer services in French to their clientele. The needs in this region are primarily in mental health.
After exploring a few options with the head of the department of psychiatry and the therapists at Montfort, a pilot project was launched by the Anxiety Management Group, a service provided by workers at Montfort’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic.
The Anxiety Management Group has been offered at Montfort for several years:
This new initiative allowed our mental health team to present practical and recognized interventions to Francophones who would not normally have access to them.
This was also an opportunity for two mental health workers, based in Hearst, to receive training in the field without having to travel.
For 12 weeks, a group of patients in Ottawa met at Montfort with workers Sonia Myre and Sylvie Faulkner, along with two patients from Hearst, via the OTN Telemedicine Network, in the company of their health workers.
The Montfort team shared its modules with the workers from Hearst, who could watch theory in action during these group sessions. “The program content was extremely relevant and very well presented,” explains Michelle Case, a mental health worker in Hearst. “The workers at Montfort explained the concepts with incredible ease. Geneviève (Pelletier) and I both agree that the anxiety program is excellent!”
"The objective of the project is both clinical and educational"
Even though there are occasional technical glitches in the program, which we are in the process of resolving, such as installing better microphones, we will continue to build on this first experience.
“This is the first project of its kind and there are more to come!”
Montfort also put patients from Kapuskasing in contact with a family physician in the Ottawa region.
A few months ago, 6000 patients at the Sensenbrenner Hospital in Kapuskasing were “orphaned” when a physician took early retirement.
Montfort’s family physicians were asked to come to the rescue of these patients. Dr. Claude Laplante, a family physician at Montfort, answered the call.
Montfort was very involved in this initiative to develop and institute a virtual medical clinic.
Using technology, every Thursday morning, Dr. Laplante talks to some of her 80 patients in Kapuskasing from the comfort of her office in Plantagenet. Like a “traditional” medical appointment, the people of Kapuskasing come to the hospital and are greeted by a nurse, then they meet with Dr. Laplante via teleconference.
“The nurse serves as my hands on the other end.”
“The room is equipped with everything I need to conduct certain examinations, like a throat examination for example, and I can see the results on the screen.”
"Telemedicine offers incredible potential for improving access to healthcare for patients across Ontario,” explains Dr. Guy Moreau, Chief of Staff at Montfort.
Thanks to telemedicine,
a hematologist can meet 25 patients
in 11 sites across Ontario
in ½ day
and avoid travelling 3 682 km.
The work accomplished by Sonia and Sylvie, Dr. Laplante and Judith not only contributes to our goal of "offering people mental health care in a Francophone therapeutic milieu", but also helps us fulfill our provincial mandate to "enable Francophone patients from everywhere in Ontario to benefit from telemedicine consultation services with physicians and other health professionals", and providing "Francophone professionals in Ontario with professional support and training from Montfort".