Patient FAQs

Treatment and Recovery

How long does it typically take to recover from a mental illness?

Mental illness is like any other illness which may require lifelong support and treatment. The recovery process is accelerated by accessing treatment and recovery supports as soon as a mental illness is identified. With the combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatment, between 70 and 90 per cent of individuals will experience an improved quality of life and significant reduction of symptoms.

How much say do I have in my treatment plan?

Patients are encouraged to take an active role in their recovery, and work together with their treatment team to set goals and discuss their progress. In 2008, Ontario Shores introduced a new recovery model of care. Recovery and Rediscover – A Shared Journey is an enhanced model of care that incorporates the recovery philosophy into everything we do. It uses a holistic, patient-centred approach to care, enhances further interprofessional teamwork and promotes excellence in care delivery. Our patients benefit from a recovery-oriented environment of care, built on compassion, inspiration and hope.

What recreational activities can I get involved in?

Recreation facilities are available for patient use. The gymnasium is equipped for basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, badminton and other activities. There is also a weight room equipped with a universal machine, free weights step climbers, elliptical machines and exercise bicycles. A games room is available and includes a bowling alley, billiard tables, table tennis, foosball tables, a piano and a games area. Your therapeutic recreational therapist will have more information about central recreation.

Family members can participate with their inpatient loved ones but must complete specific requirements through Central Recreation.

Patients and families can also look forward to a new outdoor recreation area, which will be available in the spring of 2011.

What support services are available at Ontario Shores?

Each patient is assigned a treatment team that will work with them to determine an individual treatment plan based on their goals and recovery needs. Other support services include a Peer Support, a Rights Advisor, Patient Advisory and Recovery Committee and Family Council. For a complete list of services offered by Ontario Shores, please see All Services (A-Z).

Are mental health services covered by OHIP?

This answer is pending.

Will I need to be on medication for the rest of my life?

Mental illness is a chronic condition that often requires life-long treatment. Medications are one treatment option, but other forms of treatment exist and may be considered. Medications are used to treat symptoms of mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Medication cannot cure mental illness, however without them patients may experience disabling symptoms that interfere with their ability to perform daily activities. If you are going to stop taking your medication, it should be with the help of healthcare professionals who can monitor your condition.

What are common side effects of my medications?

Most medications have the potential to cause side effects. Medications work differently for each person and as such some people will experience side effects where others may not. Each medication used to treat mental illness is associated with its own side effects, however, some of the most common side effects are listed below. Discuss the side effects of specific medications with your healthcare provider and please report any side effects you may experience.
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness when changing positions
  • Blurred vision
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Changes in weight
  • Muscle rigidity and/or stiffness
  • Nausea (upset stomach)

What are the dangers of stopping my medication?

It is important to take your medication regularly to prevent relapses and possible hospitalization. Forming a routine will help you remember to take your medication. You should always be aware of which medications you are taking in order to understand the treatment and medication decision-making process and to provide the correct medication information to healthcare professionals.

How might my current medications react with new medication prescribed for my mental illness?

Drug interactions may occur when two or more medications, including over-the-counter medications and herbals, combine to cause undesirable effects. You should always consult with your doctor or a pharmacist before starting a new medication. You should always be aware of which medications you are taking in order to understand the treatment and medication decision-making process and to provide the correct medication information to healthcare professionals.

How might street drugs react with my medication?

All medications have the potential to interact with other medications, herbals, over-the-counter medicine, alcohol, smoking and street drugs. It is important that your healthcare provider be aware of all products you use in order to assess the potential for drug interactions. Medications used to treat mental illness may interact with street drugs, but the exact interactions are not clearly understood. It is important to continue taking your medications prescribed by your doctor and inform your team if you are using street drugs.

How is it decided what privileges I have?

There are various levels of hospital, grounds and community privileges. As part of the treatment process, patients are assessed on a regular basis by their treatment team to determine the level of privileges they can receive. As patients move through the treatment plan, they are granted an increase of privileges based on their recovery progress.

What are unit-specific rules?

Unit-specific rules are rules and regulations determined by each individual unit for the safety and security of patients and staff on that unit. Each unit's rules are outlined upon admission. If you have any questions about your unit-specific rules please discuss with your treatment team.