August 23, 2021
The Addiction and Mental Health Edmonton Zone team is the recipient of the 2021 Award of Excellence in Mental Health Quality Improvement from the Canadian College of Health Leaders. Photo supplied.
Congratulations Alberta Health Services' AMH LOCUS Implementation Team, recipient of the Canadian College of Health Leaders 2021 Award of Excellence in Mental Health Quality Improvement.
Story by Christine Harris
Alberta Health Services is the recipient of the 2021 Award of Excellence in Mental Health Quality Improvement from the Canadian College of Health Leaders.
The award acknowledges important work done by the Addiction and Mental Health (AMH) Services Edmonton Zone team for implementing a decision-support tool created to improve AMH’s responsiveness to the needs of individuals who reach out for help.
“Historically, we had received feedback that the system can be difficult for people to navigate. There are a broad range of services and it can be challenging for people to understand what’s available to them,” says Liana Urichuk, director, Addiction and Mental Health. “The introduction of LOCUS has made a huge impact in solving this problem.”
The Level of Care Utilization System (LOCUS) is a clinical decision-support tool that organizes AMH services in a systematic way as it supports clinical judgment, provides a common language and encourages standardization of decisions about appropriate services. This is achieved by providing information that’s used to match services with client needs, while also ensuring client choice.
“In preparation for this, we took a look at all of what the zone really had to offer. We were all taken aback by the uniqueness of some of the programs and the hidden gems we found,” says Pam Coulson, director, Addiction and Mental Health.
“This tool has empowered clinicians who perform intakes to explore a full range of services and programs with clients. It ensures clients are active participants in personalizing the services they receive based on their identified needs.”
Client satisfaction data collected pre- and post-implementation show significant improvements in many areas, with a sharp increase in clients who feel that their needs were met — and that they were more involved in decisions about their care.
“It felt so gratifying to receive this award,” says Urichuk. “We have such a large team who really deserve acknowledgement for all the work they’ve done in making this a success. It continues to be fulfilling to see this project moving forward in other zones. I think it is something that can be truly transformative in our health system.”
The Award of Excellence in Mental Health and Quality Improvement honours a hospital, health authority, community-based mental health and addictions program/service, or a leader in the field that demonstrates evidence-informed and sustained quality improvements in the area of mental health and addictions.