Mitigating Tension With Early Access to Food & Water

Our two Emergency Departments (ED) located at St. Paul’s and Mount Saint Joseph hospitals served nearly 123,000 people in the last year alone. Meeting this demand is made possible by our incredible physicians and staff who provide exceptional above-and-beyond care to our patients each and every day.

An example of this care in action is a quality improvement project launched by Dr. David Agulnik, an emergency physician who works at both hospitals, last summer that provides early access to food and water in the ED at St. Paul’s Hospital in an effort to reduce aggressive behaviour. Recognizing that most of the population he serves are marginalized, low income and individuals with mental health/substance-use issues, Dr. Agulnik believes that tensions in the Emergency Department that lead to escalating behaviour can be mitigated by providing patients with early access to food and water while they are in the waiting room.

A preliminary survey of more than a dozen nurses and registration clerks affirmed that they believed the initiative introduced by Dr. Agulnik could lead to improved behaviour of patients, more compassionate care, addressing food needs and fewer staff interruptions. Dr. Agulnik was able to test out his theory with support from the Physician Led Quality Improvement Program (PLQI). Dr. Agulnik’s project was also recognized with a Golden Apple Award in 2018 by the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC).