Our Readers' Opinions
April 5, 2016
Environment for the mentally ill – Orange Hill or Glen?

Editor: On a recent visit to Glen, in particular the environs of the newly renovated Glen Mental Health Centre, the only thing I noted in way of improvements in the old building was a series of rooms for more violent patients. Nothing has been physically altered of any significance.{{more}}

This reporter is strongly advising the following options, one of either: (a) A second look be taken at the Glen renovation process or (b) let the Orange Hill location stand as the permanent location for mental health care.

In another aspect, this would seem to be emphasized by the rampant crime and violence in Glen – the crime unit of Glen cannot handle issues people have of housing patients there. I have noticed a considerable number of violent clashes between inmates and Glen residents.

In fact, the Orange Hill community has been more welcoming and less antagonistic towards the patient population of MHC Orange Hill.

In addition to the opportunities of the location, Orange Hill is teeming with opportunities for minor jobs and tasks, for patients allowed on the outside who want to work: farming, animal care, labouring.

Senior nursing officer Diana Bailey (one of the longest running professionals in that position, the previous three all abandoning ship after three months or so each in that position), is strongly advocating that, in terms of environment, there needs also to be a caring attitude, with more professionals of specialty to address therapeutic needs of the patients.

To this end, with parents and families in mind (especially), SNO Bailey is strongly suggesting the following measures:

1. Involvement (by family, friends, etc) in the patient care plan

2. A need for parents, family etc to accompany patients for follow-up treatment

3. Supervision of patients medication and the taking of such

4. Provision of decent living environment for patients (once they are discharged)

5. Demonstration of caring and help to instill hope

6. Support groups should be established for patients and families

7. Self-education, and boning up on firsthand knowledge of all the patients issues

8. Seek consultation with the health care practitioner regarding the care of the loved ones

9. Be an advocate for rights and dignity of the patient.

In closing, I would like to commend the architects who designed the original Orange Hill facility. It’s been challenging, but at least the building is still standing.

Colin King