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More mental health beds on the way

Mission’s campus of care will include a residence for mental health clients next year.

The former Pleasant View Care Home will be converted into a new 54-bed mental health residential campus, Fraser Health announced Wednesday. It will include three sections, including a 19-bed residential care facility, a 22-bed assisted living centre, and 13 bachelor suites.

The new facility will offer three levels of care for mental health patients, said Meryl McDowell, director for mental health and substance use services for Fraser Health.

The residential care facility provides the highest level of support to clients and is more “intensively” staffed, while the bachelor suites offer clients an independent living atmosphere with their own access to the building. Everyone in a bachelor suite will have a case manager to help them work on getting better and resuming a more independent lifestyle.

“Recovery is not only possible, but expected,” said McDowell. “We try to support people to try to live in the least intrusive environment as possible.”

Clients that fit in this type of setting are typically diagnosed with schizophrenia, mood disorder or anxiety disorder, and need help adjusting their medications or setting goals for recovery, McDowell explained.

The assisted living program, which provides 24/7 care for mental health clients, is new to Fraser Health. Clients in this environment have access to light housekeeping, meals and social and recreation support, but they also have their own independent living units with a microwave and sink.

The new care facility, which is expected to be ready in early 2015, will be operated by Pleasant View Housing Society.

The renovations, which will begin in about two months, are not extensive, said McDowell. “The facility has been well maintained.”

As the health authority works to renovate the facility, it is ending contracts with existing service providers next year which offer care to clients with mental health challenges. The homes affected are Katalin, Meadowview Manor, and Mission Hills Manor.

Katalin, located on Second Avenue, is a 14-bed facility where clients are primarily in their 40s and 50s, and are generally more independent. Meadowview Manor has 14 beds and is located on Third Avenue. Residents range in age from their late 20s to mid-50s. Mission Hills Manor is a 13-bed facility for men on Parr Road.

The facilities are aging, explained Tasleem Juma, spokesperson for Fraser Health, noting the change is based on the challenges of the existing structures, such as inadequate common space and limited wheelchair accessibility, not the level of care provided.

By consolidating the homes, Fraser Health is adding 13 more beds to serve clients with mental health challenges in Mission, Juma added.

Residents in all three homes can choose to move to the new mental health residential campus or out of the community to be closer to family and other support people.

“We will focus on making choices that are best for them,” said McDowell.

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