Hillside Psychiatric Centre celebrates a decade helping patients

By Adam Donnelly
March 11, 2016 - 5:00pm Updated: March 11, 2016 - 6:36pm

KAMLOOPS — Hillside Psychiatric Clinic celebrated a milestone today. The facility has now been open for a decade. Facility staff, as well as patient’s families, and dignitaries from the province and Interior Health took time to reflect on the facility's positive impact on the community, despite some of the recent challenges faced by psychiatric nurses there.

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Nearly three years ago Jack Harper lost his wife Marion, who suffered from early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Her last days were spent at Hillside Psychiatric Centre, which today celebrates its 10th anniversary of caring for patients. “The people here we’re very understanding,a nd they were very compassionate,” Harper said, of the care his wife received at the clinic. “They really believed in the whole concept of treating the individual person.”

Dr. Paul Dagg has been at Hillside Centre since the facility welcomed its first patients in march of 2006. Since then, it’s served more than 1500 people, in need of psychiatric care. In that time, Dagg says the facility has been a leader in caring for those with mental health problems. “We’ve been able to develop a reputation for handling some pretty challenging cases,” he said. Dang added “I think as well, we’ve developed the confidence… that we can handle people who are very ill, at very disturbing parts of their lines, and do it well.”

In recent years, Hillside Centre has made news for several incidents involving assaults on staff members by patients, an issue which Health Minister Terry Lake addressed in his comments to those assembled at the event. “We know that behaviour can be unpredictable, and we know that our valued staff…sometimes are put in situations where they could be at risk. So we have to manage that.” Lake said the Ministry has partnered with the BC Nurses’ Union to address the violence staff has faced in the past.

Minister Lake wanted to be sure those incidents did not overshadow the work being done at the facility.

In the decade he’s worked at Hillside, Dr. Dagg is proud of the work they’ve been able to do at the facility, and hopeful the strategies they’ve put in place in that time gain more traction. “There may be less need for places like this [in 10 years time]. We’ll always have work, but our hope is we’ll see people treated… sooner, and more effectively.”

Marion Harper was 73 when she passed away; her husband is thankful for the care she received from the staff at Hillside Psychiatric Centre. Her husband took the opportunity to say thank you to the staff at the clinic. “I appreciate the level of efficiency, and care that our health care system in this province has,” Harper said, “It certainly has been a boon for my wife, and I think that we’re very fortunate to have people in our system who truly care.”

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