Division of Geriatric Psychiatry

Elderly women smiling

Message from the Division Head Dr. Andrew Wiens

I am very pleased to report on another successful year as Head of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry. First, I am happy to announce two new members to our division: Dr. Tim Holden and Dr. Holly Dornan. Dr. Dornan received her training in our Geriatric Psychiatry residency program. The Division of Geriatric Psychiatry counts 25 members of whom 13 are bilingual. There were three new appointments of division members over the past year as well. Dr. Lisa McMurray was appointed Program Director, Geriatric Psychiatry Residency Program in May 2015. I look forward to her experience from her professional career and skills in administration to positively contribute to the division. Dr. Tim Lau was appointed as the Program Director of the Psychiatry Residency Training Program, and Dr. Andrea Stewart was appointed as the Associate Director in May 2015. Both bring much enthusiasm and vigor to their new roles.

The division and its members promote education, including the residency training programs in Geriatric Psychiatry, Psychiatry Residency, Geriatric Medicine, Family Medicine, Care of the Elderly Program and the undergraduate training program at the University of Ottawas Faculty of Medicine. Supervision, provided in both official languages, involves small and large group teaching. Supervision and education are enhanced through the coordination of those in leadership positions and committees. The division also puts an emphasis on training allied health professionals, including those in rural areas. Several of our members are also involved in leadership or working group positions at the Faculty of Medicine, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Medical Council of Canada.

The division's commitment to education also extends beyond the psychiatric community in Ottawa. Our members have presented in international forums on Geriatric Psychopharmacology and ECT and provided leadership in the Canadian Academy for Geriatric Psychiatry (CAGP), the National Review Course in Geriatric Psychiatry and the Council of Psychiatry Continuing Education. We continue to offer the only Simulation-Based Course in ECT in the world. Many of the divisional members are also involved in the CAGP Online Study Group, an innovative and interactive on-line educational program.

We continue to be involved on numerous boards at the Canadian Psychiatry Association (CPA), CAGP, International Psychogeriatric Association, including chair positions on the CPAs Council of Academies and Champlain Dementia Physician Education Committee.

We currently offer training as one of nine Royal College Residency programs in Geriatric Psychiatry. We are engaged in our fourth cycle (2015-2016) with Dr. Soojin Chun as our fifth trainee.

Our members have also been involved in a number of research activities over the year, including:

  • Dr. Rahberu co-authored an article on Canadian clinical practice guidelines for the management of anxiety, posttraumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders; and another on the systematic approach to pharmacology for geriatric major depression. He is also the co-investigator on two CIHR grants on dementia and schizophrenia.
  • Dr. Lau co-authored, along with several other members of our department, a study on factors affecting recruitment into psychiatry in Canada.

I would also like to congratulate Dr. Rahbheru for being nominated as a Fellow of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, a deserving accomplishment.

I want to thank all my colleagues for their hard work and dedication. I look forward to another successful year.

Working together with families, primary care physicians, community psychiatrists and community agencies, the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry helps adults 65 years of age and over improve the quality of their life and achieve their optimal level of functioning.

Services are provided in English and French by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals. The Geriatric Psychiatry Program of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group (ROHCG) provides a comprehensive range of services including Ambulatory Care, Outreach Services, Day Hospital, as well as an Inpatient Unit at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre (ROMHC). Patients must have a referral from their physician.

The Geriatric Outreach Service of Ottawa has been developed to meet the mental health needs of long-term care residents and to assist administrators, physicians, and direct care staff of long-term care facilities.

A geriatric psychiatrist and outreach nurse based at the ROMHC provide on-site assessments, recommendations and follow-up for the implementation of treatment recommendations. Case-based learning and formal teaching programs tailored to meet the educational needs of the long-term care staff are also provided.

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