Friday, October 9, 2015


In 1971, The Organic Brain Syndrome Project - the precursor to Riverview's Neuropsychiatry program - was established in the 42-bed ward at North Lawn. Dr. A.C. Grenier led the treatment of patients who had persistent health problems due to the degeneration of the brain due to illness or injury.

The project also conducted research, much of it related to schizophrenia. Within five years, the project occupied most of the North Lawn building.

Riverview experimented with different types of therapy including pub therapy. That wouldn't be acceptable today but, in 1973, they tried it.

“On June 8th a saloon was first opened on Ward F1 in East Lawn. This saloon now operates between 2:00-3:00 p.m. every Friday. It is called the Longhorn Saloon and everything is decorated in old fashioned western style. 

To the accompaniment of live music supplied by Mrs. Hood, the Music Therapist, the men on the ward can have a couple of beers and invite women from the other wards to have a glass of shandy or ginger ale. 

According to George Hufnagel, the charge nurse of F1, the main purpose of the saloon is to involve withdrawn patients in social activity and to bring their hospital home more aspects of community living. As long as the amounts consumed are controlled even ex-alcoholics can join in without fear. The man behind the idea was a Dr. Wyder, who has since left. 

The evident pleasure of the residents on the Ward is the best testimonial to its continuing success.” 

From September 1973 Leader

In 1973, Riverview's Registered Psychiatric Nursing Program was transferred to the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

“The last graduating class of Psychiatric Nurses at Riverview went through the graduating ceremonies on August 9th, 1973, at 8:00 p.m. at the Valleyview Auditorium. The auditorium was decorated by large arrangements of beautiful flowers grown by the gardeners at Riverview and at Woodlands School. The organ music was supplied by Frederic Nelson. The graduating nurses came in, each carrying a bouquet of red roses. Reverend L.T. Dahl gave the invocation.”

From September 1973 Leader

Riverview immediately felt the loss of nurse trainees on its wards so they launched an intense recruiting drive in the U.K. to meet their needs.

Thanks to the PDF, Riverview, A Legacy of Care and Compassion for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill

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