John Rorke, Child and Youth Advocate (Acting), released the Report on the Investigation into Janeway Psychiatry Unit J4D Programs and Services today in St. John's.
The report contains 18 recommendations which, if implemented, are meant to assist in providing the best possible mental health services for the children and youth of Newfoundland and Labrador.
According to a news release, Eastern Regional Integrated Health Authority made the decision to shut down the Janeway unit in December 2008 and two adolescent inpatients were transferred to the adult Waterford Hospital.
On Dec. 15, 2008, the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate provided notice of the intention to conduct an investigation into the psychiatric services and programs provided by the Janeway Children's Health and Rehabilitation Centre during the period Jan. 1, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2008. It applied to all patients who were either assessed by, or admitted to, the Janeway Psychiatry Unit J4D for reasons of self-harm, suicidal risk and/or behaviour which presented risk of harm to others.
The investigation identified several concerns which led to the closure of J4D, including the need for policies relevant to the patient population served, consistent interpretation and implementation of policies and procedures, communications issues, a lack of team cohesiveness and low morale.
It also revealed human resource challenges including budget restraints, programming and treatment gaps, a lack of community wraparound services and concerns regarding recruitment and retention.
One of the key findings was that, as a non-specialized Unit, there is no requirement for J4D to hire psychiatric trained nurses.
Rorke noted that all children of Newfoundland and Labrador have the right to an efficient and fully operational mental health facility developmentally designed to address their specific needs.
"We hope that our investigation and recommendations clarify for the public the problems faced by those attempting to provide psychiatric services to children and youth in Newfoundland and Labrador, and lead to improved services and resources to assist those charged with the responsibility of caring for the most vulnerable group of persons in our society," Rorke said.
The Report on the Investigation into Janeway Psychiatry Unit J4D Programs and Services is available online at