Monday, November 9, 2015

Replacing Riverview

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) continued working with the five regional health authorities. They were planning the transfer of specialized provincial tertiary mental health services across the province. The goal was to provide mental health patients with the full range of mental health services closer to home rather than having to send them to Riverview.

Significant expansion of local mental health services happened in 2002/03. During this time, several facilities opened across the province: Connolly Lodge on the Riverview lands, Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility near Victoria and two new facilities in Kamloops.

These were described as "home-like" facilities and were typical of the replacements to Riverview, which were opening across the province.

The patient population at Riverview continued to dwindle but the institution wasn't finished yet. The research performed there increased. People realized that research into the mental health issues was the way to move forward. It was necessary in order to provide the best care for the patients and as a guide for restructuring the Canadian Mental Health Care System.

In 2003, researchers at Riverview obtained $4 million in funding. They were working with around 70 projects including multi centre clinical trials. Numerous academic conferences were held at Riverview. These increased the staff's knowledge and demonstrated the hospital's ongoing leadership position in patient care, education and research.

In 2005, a new agency was formed under the PHSA agency - BC Mental Health and Addiction Services. The role of the BCMHA is to provide leadership in coordinating specialized mental health and addictions initiatives across the province.

188 tertiary care beds were opened for mental health patients across the province in 2004. The opening of these new facilities prompted the closing of the older buildings.

In 1930, East Lawn at Essondale/Riverview was opened - the hospital's all-female unit. East lawan had evolved into smaller wards, which specialized in different areas of care. In 2005, it closed and the few remaining patients there were transferred to other buildings at Riverview.

North Lawn, the facility built in the 1950's initially to care for patients with tuberculosis, closed in 2007.

“The perception of many people is that they see this beautiful park-like setting, and they wonder why Riverview is closing. But nobody walks inside and sees the outdated conditions—the dormitory-style living situations.The privacy issue is very critical in rehabilitation, retraining and recovery. That’s how we encourage people to take care of themselves and feel comfortable with themselves. Privacy is not possible in Riverview’s old buildings.They were built in another era. If you look at Connolly Lodge, there’s a huge difference compared to the older buildings.”

Physician Leader, Riverview Hospital, 2003-

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



    1. It is amazing what went on at that place. The good and the bad.