The Province of Nova Scotia in a press release announced that a joint review by the provincial Departments of Health, Department of Justice, and Capital District Health Authority will conduct a joint review of circumstances surrounding the release of a patient at East Coast Forensic Hospital on April 16.
The patient (Andre Denny) was subsequently charged in a homicide (of Raymond Taavel). The joint review will be led by the deputy ministers of Health and Wellness and Justice and the CEO of CDHA.
The review will determine whether all relevant policies and procedures were followed and whether they were adequate. Denny was a patient at the hospital since January after being found not criminally responsible for an assault charge. He left the hospital on a one-hour leave at 7:30 p.m. on Monday night and didn’t return.
Aileen Brunet, clinical director of the East Coast Forensic Hospital, has been quoted as stating that the unit has a 60-bed capacity and is currently three-quarters full. “And the vast majority of those individuals have some access to the community every day varying between an hour or two and back, all the way up to spending several days and nights out of the hospital.”
“Our decision-making process involves consideration of the person’s risk, their mental state, their compliance with the team and behaviour in hospital,” she said. Usually at first patients are escorted out on passes.
“It’s an opportunity for them to get some fresh air, and be able to go off hospital grounds to have a cigarette.” Occasionally some are late but it’s rare they don’t show up at all, Brunet said. If they do, they’re generally back within 24 hours, she said.
Brunet said it appears policy was followed in this case.
A progress update will be provided in 30 days. More on the history that prompted the review can be found here
Media Contacts: Sherri Aikenhead: Health and Wellness, 902-424-7942,E-mail: Sherri.Aikenhead@gov.ns.ca
Tara Walsh Department of Justice 902-424-6282 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Gillis Capital District Health Authority Pager: 902-458-5376 E-mail:email@example.com
On CBC Radio, Dr. Scott Theriault, clinical director, Department of Psychiatry for Capital Health answers questions about un-escorted leave for mental patients. Audio: Questions about un-escorted leave for mental patients