Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Canada has expanded the capacity of its mental health inpatient care unit with the addition of new treatment areas.

The unit addresses mental health crises in children and youth.

Around 20% of its capacity has been increased through the addition of four safety-focused single rooms to offer critical care for youth.

In addition, the project involves the development of a place for group activities along with classroom space.

A meeting room, dining room and kitchen were also built, enabling families to spend time with their children or youth.

Other additions include a Snoezelen (or sensory) room that offers a calming ambience, safety pods to help young patients calm down safely and a second nursing station for the 19-bed unit.

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Donors infused funds into CHEO Foundation, helping finance the entirety of the $1.5m project.

CHEO Foundation president and CEO Steve Read said: “In recent years, rising demands for mental health services meant that CHEO needed to respond quickly, and this is a perfect example of how community support can help CHEO answer the call.

“This new space is a tremendous improvement for the children, youth and families CHEO serves and it enables staff to provide the high standard of care they are trained to deliver.

“I want to take this time to offer special thanks to the Weston Family Foundation for their generous gift toward this important project.”

CHEO Mental Health and Addictions vice-president Joanne Lowe said: “This new space will not only allow us to care for more young patients but also provide them and their families with the right space and conditions to care for them.”

Additional upgrades to CHEO’s emergency unit are currently in progress.