Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Patient's Charter of Rights
The Tea House, the Deli Training Program, the Post Office and the Tuck Shop were all run by volunteers, as were the fundraising events like the Strawberry Tea and Fashion Show and Casino night.
The team at Riverview became known for their readiness to share their expertise with the fledgling mental health care units in the community. Many of the staff transferred to the community based facilities. Their focus was on providing compassionate care for the patents.
“One of the biggest advances was when we started to work more closely in teams. In the early days, there was a rivalry between the different disciplines. Nurses, occupational therapists, recreational therapists—were a bit competitive with each other. The team approach evolved over time, and it worked very well.”
Fred Bennett Nursing staff member 1961-2003
During this decade, the approach to patient care was evolving. In 1988, patients in mental institutions won the right to vote in national elections and it was becoming more and more apparent that patients should have more of a say in how they were treated.
The provincial Ombudsman conducted and 18-month investigation in 1993/94. They were looking into administrative fairness in response to concerns voiced by patients, families and community advocates. The final report, Listening, a Review of Riverview Hospital emphasized the need for the hospital to listen to patients and be accountable to those it serves. The report concluded:
“Riverview Hospital has not had in place the kind of comprehensive, receptive and fair mechanism for responding to concerns about its service that must exist in a psychiatric hospital.”
The Charter of Patient's Rights was created by a Joint Task Force made up of patients, staff and community advocates. This was a ground- breaking initiative that focused on three main areas: Quality of Life/Social Rights, Quality of Care/ Therapeutic and Self-Determination/ Legal Rights.
“The Charter compelled a lot of people to look at patients in a more humanitarian way. For instance, Crease Clinic had people in wards with windows that looked out over the highway and the railway. We’d think, how can anyone possibly sleep in those rooms with all that noise? So we included a clause in the Charter about having a restful sleeping area. And steps were taken to make sure there was a more restful place for people to sleep.”
Val Adolph Chair of the Joint Task Force and Director of Volunteers at Riverview, 1990-94
I hope you find the beauty around you.