SRH’s Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACTT) reduces wait-time from over a year to less than a month

In addition, ACTT member awarded peer-nominated Spirit of ACTT award

SCARBOROUGH (January 5, 2017) – The Scarborough and Rouge Hospital’s (SRH) Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACTT) – which provides patient-centred, highly individualized treatment, support, and rehabilitation to individuals with severe and persistent mental illness – is proud to announce that it has reduced patient wait times from over a year to less than a month.

The success of SRH’s ACTT is the result of an April 2016 quality improvement event led by Faiza Khalid-Khan, Patient Care Director, Mental Health, and Shawnna Balasingham, Patient Care Manager, Mental Health, both for the Birchmount and General sites. The Mental Health department at SRH’s Birchmount site worked with the Innovation and Performance Improvement office to review ACTT processes and develop standardized work. Any patient who requires an ACTT will now benefit from reduced wait times, regardless of which of Scarborough’s three hospital sites they normally visit.

“This is a remarkable feat. For some ACTT programs, the wait can be substantially longer,” said Joanne Fracassi, Team Lead for SRH’s ACTT. “At SRH, the wait time is now under a month, which we achieved by ‎assisting patients with their recovery-focused goals and creating flow within our internal systems.”

The improvement stems from recommendations that developed from the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (Central East LHIN) ACTT Together quality improvement initiative. One of the primary goals from this initiative was to increase the capacity of the ACTTs by implementing a stepped care model. Although this allowed for an increase of new patients being admitted into ACTTs, concerns regarding patient flow remained.

“At SRH, the team has created a flow for these patients to be discharged from the ACTT program once the patient achieves specific goals,” said Dr. Hoa Phuc Nguyen, ACTT Psychiatrist.

SRH’s ACTT reviews patient progress every six months and works with patients to update their goals twice a year, using a standardized scale. The quality improvement event at SRH focused not only on standardizing work, but also on encouraging staff to challenge past notions that ACTT patients cannot be successfully discharged from the ACTT program.

As a result, patients are progressing through the program more quickly, freeing up space to accept new patients into the program.

“But their care doesn’t end there,” added Dr. Nguyen. “After completing the ACTT program, patients are transitioned directly to the SRH Case Management Program, and finally, to the Adult Outpatient Program for a truly ‘recovery-focused’ approach. This transition process is also unique to ACTTs in Ontario.”

Since the quality improvement event, SRH has discharged six patients – more than 50 per cent of all ACTT discharges in the Central East LHIN. The majority of patients who have been discharged from ACTT have transitioned successfully to the Adult Outpatient program, where they follow up with their psychiatrist once every few months. Increased communication between the psychiatrist and patient’s general practitioner has also been established, for a truly collaborative approach.

Spirit of ACTT Award

SRH’s ACTT is distinguished by its interprofessional team approach and for providing treatment in the community. The team is excited to congratulate Steve Tong, SRH’s ACTT Vocational Specialist, on recently receiving the Spirit of ACTT Award, presented by the Ontario ACT Association.

Steve was nominated by his peers in the 80 ACTT programs across Ontario. This award is presented to one front-line staff member, “who through their work has embodied the spirit, vision and goals of Assertive Community Treatment.” 

“I’m very pleased and deeply honoured to have received this award from my provincial peers,” said Steve. “There are many people who work on Assertive Community Treatment Teams who deserve the same recognition for their great, intensive caring and creative work in helping their patients reach their recovery goals. We do truly believe in this model of service and the re-integrative results it provides its patients.”

For more information on SRH’s ACCT program, visit

About Scarborough and Rouge Hospital

At Scarborough and Rouge Hospital (SRH), a quality patient experience comes first. Affiliated with the University of Toronto, SRH consists of three hospital sites (Birchmount, General, and Centenary) and five satellite sites in Scarborough. SRH delivers a broad spectrum of health services to one of the most diverse communities in Canada, including a full-service Emergency Department at each site, advanced maternal and neonatal care in state-of-the-art birthing centres, and specialized paediatric services. SRH is home to a number of regional programs serving the central east Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and beyond, including nephrology, cardiac care, vascular surgery, and vision care, and is recognized as a centre of excellence in orthopaedic surgery, cancer care, and mental health.

Media contact:

Lisa Cipriano
Communications Officer
Scarborough and Rouge Hospital
416-438-2911, ext. 6594
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