BACKGROUNDER by liuhongmei


2006HEALTH0005-000078                                                                  Ministry of Health
Feb. 9, 2006                                                                               Interior Health
                                                                     Provincial Health Services Authority

Riverview Hospital (RVH) opened in 1913 as a tertiary psychiatric hospital for individuals with
serious and persistent mental illness. In 2001, the B.C. government made a commitment to develop
new specialized mental health facilities around the province to replace the aging facility at Riverview.

Current mental health standards acknowledge that patients are more effectively cared for and supported
in smaller facilities with a more home-like environment. Therefore, the model of care is moving away
from large institutions like Riverview to smaller facilities located in communities around the province,
so patients can access a full range of services closer to home.

As part of the Riverview Hospital Redevelopment Project, the health authorities will provide a
comprehensive range of mental health services and supports. Once all phases of this project are
complete, RVH will close.

The project is a collaborative effort involving all six health authorities and the B.C. Ministry of Health.
The ministry has provided a total of $138 million in new capital funding to construct new facilities
where necessary or to renovate existing facilities where appropriate.

By the end of March, a total of 304 new beds will have opened around the province, including: 62 in
the north; 64 on Vancouver Island; 139 in the Interior; and 39 in Fraser Health.

New facilities built under the Riverview Hospital Redevelopment Project include:
       • Seven Oaks – a $10-million, 38-bed facility in Saanich that opened in October 2002 (24
            beds were transferred from Riverview Hospital).
       • Iris House – a $1.3-million,10-bed facility in Prince George that opened in April 2002 and
            underwent a $1-million expansion in April 2003, to increase total bed capacity to 20.
       • South Hills – a $4.2-million, 40-bed facility in Kamloops that opened in April 2003.
       • Seven Sisters – a $2.5-million, 20-bed facility in Terrace that opened in February 2005.
       • Hillside Centre – a $17-million, 44-bed tertiary care facility on the grounds of Royal
            Inland Hospital in Kamloops that opens today.
       • Cottonwood Lodge – a $4.8-million, 24-bed facility in Coquitlam that is currently under
            construction, and is expected to open in autumn 2006.


Unlike the dorm-style accommodation at Riverview Hospital, all of the new facilities provide patients
with private rooms, and a lifestyle that supports the patients, who are able to participate in cooking,
cleaning and other activities. The new facilities provide supports for those with more complex care
needs, while also providing these individuals with a more home-like environment. With stronger links
to the communities in which they are located, these new facilities are more conducive to patient goals
of independence and community reintegration.

For more information on the Riverview Hospital Redevelopment Project, visit


Media       Marisa Adair                                 Ryan Kuhn
contact:    Communications Director                      Communications Officer
            Ministry of Health                           Interior Health
            250 952-1889                                 250 574-1523 (cell)
            250 920-8500 (cell)                

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