The psychiatric inpatient experience can be very difficult both for patients and their families. But a lack of acute psychiatric beds in British Columbia hospitals has also led to increasing concern. The word acute refers to an illness that quickly becomes very severe.
After numerous complaints about difficulties in accessing acute psychiatric beds, the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society, along with the B.C. Psychiatric Association, constructed a questionnaire in early 2019 seeking the experiences of family members and people affected by serious mental illness.
The questionnaire generated over 100 responses from families and patients and led to an October 2019 report examining these experiences within a wider discussion of relevant issues—including recommendations for improving the situation.

The B.C. Schizophrenia Society focused on issues related to the psychiatric inpatient experience—along with the lack of acute psychiatric beds in the province—at its October 2019 annual general meeting. A panel discussion called “Inpatient Care for People with Serious Mental Illness: Current Issues” included speakers addressing the shortage of psychiatric beds, potential legal barriers to treatment, a parent’s perspective on the inpatient experience, and ways to reduce the need for inpatient care.

Dr. Alan Bates is the Provincial Practice Leader for Psychiatry at B.C. Cancer and President of the B.C. Psychiatric Association. He spoke at the October 6th, 2019 annual meeting of the B.C. Schizophrenia Society in Vancouver. Dr. Bates addressed the question, “Is there a shortage of psychiatric beds in the province?”

Listen to audio from Dr. Bates’ presentation (as later broadcast on People First Radio). Watch the presentation (with accompanying slides) on the B.C. Schizophrenia Society’s YouTube channel.

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