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Cowichan Lodge Reopens to Provide Specialized Mental Health Care to Vancouver Island Seniors & Adults

February 21, 2013

DUNCAN - Cowichan Valley and Vancouver Island seniors and adults with persistent mental illness have improved access to the care they need with the unveiling today of two newly renovated wings at Cowichan Lodge.

“Providing safe, quality and timely care to seniors and adults with significant mental illnesses is an important priority for the Vancouver Island Health Authority and these additional beds will improve access to care for patients,” said Don Hubbard, Board Chair. “Unfortunately, mental health conditions are often misunderstood, even feared. At Cowichan Lodge, all clients will be treated with dignity and respect and will not be stigmatized by their mental health challenge.”

The $9 million renovation includes a 24-bed wing for seniors who have cognitive and behavioral challenges and a 27-bed wing for adults with severe mental disorders. Using a psychosocial rehabilitation model, adult clients will work toward recovery and learning the skills necessary to return to community living. Senior clients will work toward recovery with the goal of improved quality of life. The average patient stay is expected to be six to 18 months, with some clients remaining longer.

Among features of the newly renovated wings are single occupancy client rooms with private bathrooms, comfortable dining and socialization areas, kitchen and laundry facilities and landscaped outdoor areas where clients can enjoy sitting, gardening and walking pathways.

“Today is a wonderful day for all of the partners in this project who have worked side-by-side to bring a new health care purpose to Cowichan Lodge,” said Rob Hutchins, Chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District and Co-Chair of the Cowichan Communities Health Network. “Seniors and adults from the Cowichan Valley and Vancouver Island who need inpatient treatment for mental illness can now receive it in a home-like setting close to family and friends.”

The Province funded $8.5 M of the renovation and the Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District contributed $500,000. The facility will be owned and operated by VIHA and will employ approximately 60 staff and physicians.

The redevelopment project is part of the Provincial initiative to devolve the 1930’s-era Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam and repatriate the beds and associated funding to local communities.  In addition to the redevelopment of Cowichan Lodge in Duncan, two net new specialized mental health beds will open at Seven Oaks – a VIHA operated tertiary mental health facility in Saanich.

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Media Contact:
Val Wilson, VIHA Communications
250-739-6303

Read Backgrounder for more information.