LETTER: Move psychiatric ward back to the St. Joseph’s location

Dear editor,

Re: Could the fourth-floor psych ward be part of the problem with the new Comox Valley hospital? (Letter, April 26)

I totally agree with Barbara Lynn Ble’s letter questioning the inappropriate location for the psychiatric ward on the top floor of the new hospital. There were plenty of things wrong with St. Joe’s, but the location of the psych ward was not one of them. It was as perfect a spot as one could hope for, with beautiful views of the water, surrounded by grass and trees and such easy access to nature and fresh air, so important for recovery and healing for those suffering and recovering from mental illness. It was even adjacent to the Hospital Thrift Store, where patients who often arrived without clothes were treated with respect in choosing something nice to wear. One can only wonder at the reasoning that went into the inappropriate decision to relocate to the fourth floor of the new hospital, with none of these valuable therapeutic features. Extended care patients at The Views, which remains at the old hospital, enjoy and benefit greatly from a similar beautiful location. Can we not bring back these benefits to the mentally ill, who surely deserve it just as much?

I also understand that there are fewer beds in the new psychiatric facility. With an increasing population in the Valley and certainly an increasing need for psychiatric care, fewer beds have just added to the problem. Mistakes are often made when designing new buildings but we can learn from these mistakes. In this case it is not too late to reverse the decision and move the psychiatry back to the old beautiful location. Even if it means some renovations, these patients deserve better and the freeing up of beds on the fourth floor would relieve the now constant overcrowding problem at the hospital. It is a win-win solution.

Anicca de Trey


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