Sault Area Hospital updates SSM Council: No Level 3 facility on the horizon


SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – “I have as the mayor received more communications, on issues and challenges in our community that relate to addictions, mental health, and anything else,” said Mayor Provenzano.

That is how Mayor Provenzano opened up the section of council meeting dedicated to Sault Area Hospital giving an update on addiction services.

When are we going to see a Level Three Withdrawal Management Centre? That is a question Lisa Case, Clinical Director Mental Health and Addictions, gets asked everywhere she goes.

Case did her best to explain to the council what is happening on that front. She referred to the slide below saying the box circled in yellow and red was what they were referring to when they say level three.

“It encompasses the in-hospital withdrawal management, acute medicine, ICU, that piece that the care needs, the intensity of the care is very high, the number of individuals that require that care is lower,” said Case. “if we look to the bottom right of the slide, the service volume is quite high for those that need self-care, family support, harm reduction and prevention.”

Case notes there are four beds in the hospital that currently provide the traditional level 3 care for those suffering from addiction.

Councillor Dufour summed up the level three question pretty well when Case answered yes to his question below.

“It seems to me that the answer, when will we get level three care in Sault Ste. Marie? The answer is that we already have some,” said Dufour. “but we do not have enough and we do not have a separate residential component for that care. Is that correct?”

Case was extremely excited about all the things SAH is doing to help the community. The part she was most excited about was a mobile community wellness bus.

This bus will go into the community and provide basic levels of care from nursing addictions, mental health and peer worker perspective. The bus would be used all over downtown.

Case offered to come back to the council in a month and give an update on the launch date for this collaborative project between many community organizations.

One priority that was identified in the presentation was a need for a location to host a residential withdrawal management and safe bed service.

The hospital estimates it would take about 10,000 square feet for such a facility as their previous one was on a footprint of about 2900 square feet. A local realtor ballparked the figure at between 20 and 28 dollars a square foot depending on location and other factors.

They noted if they added Phase 2 and Phase 3 to the site the size probably goes up to 17,000 square feet.

Sault Area Hospital is not scheduled to come back to council any time soon. You can see the whole report to council below.