SLMHC Emergency Department Upgrades Promote Increased Patient, Staff Safety

Renovations are underway in Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre’s (SLMHC) Emergency Department to create additional capacity for safe rooms. Once completed, the four safe rooms, also described as safe secure spaces, will enable SLMHC to more effectively care for patients presenting with acute mental health conditions, who are at high risk of self-injury or injury to employees/physicians.

“The creation of the additional secure spaces within the emergency department will enable the hospital staff to maintain a safer environment, enabling time for de-escalation, in both acute mental health and addictions situations. The safe rooms will be designed to ensure patients cannot physically harm themselves, and they will allow for observation of patients from outside the room in a no-harm approach to staff. Patient and staff safety is paramount to maintain a good system of care,” says Dean Osmond, Acting President and CEO of SLMHC.

“Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre serves a large and diverse patient population with complex and unique mental health needs. Through expanding our emergency department to have more purpose-built mental health rooms, we will be able to more effectively provide care to individuals requiring acute mental health services in a setting that prioritizes their dignity and safety. This is one of many planned investments into our hospital’s mental health and addictions infrastructure that we will see implemented over the coming years,” says Dr. Justin Bell, Chief of Mental Health and Addictions.

During the ongoing renovations, the SLMHC Emergency Department remains open 24/7

A Form 1 is an application by a physician for a person to undergo a psychiatric assessment to determine whether that person needs to be admitted for further care in a psychiatric facility, as an involuntary or voluntary patient, or if they should be discharged. Often times, Form 1 inpatient mental health facilities in the region have limited capacity and competing demands for service. The implementation of safe rooms at SLMHC will create a temporary, but secure, environment for patients to be safely cared for prior to transfer to an inpatient mental health facility.

“SLMHC regularly has to hold Form 1 patients for several days before they are accepted, and can be safely moved, to inpatient mental health facilities. This project will allow greater flexibility with coordinating acceptance and movement of Form 1 patients to Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Lake of the Woods District Hospital,” says Osmond.

During the ongoing renovations, the SLMHC Emergency Department remains open 24/7. For more information on Emergency Department services, wait times, and triaging, visit