“It has been such a positive experience for my brother-in-law and our whole family,” says Julie (not her real name). Her brother-in-law has been a resident of Adrian House for six years. The facility is a duplex on a residential street, housing ten residents at a time.
Julie can’t say enough good things about the staff and progress her brother-in-law has made there. “They teach him to be independent,” she says. “That is something he could not do well at on his own.”
She explains that the combination of close supervision by mental workers and psychiatric nurses along with the routines of daily life is a recipe for success.
“He is cooking, cleaning and participating in group activities – he has a life,” says Julie. The resident’s extended family visits him regularly and feels good when they leave him at Adrian House. “The communication from the staff is very good, and we feel really comfortable and welcome,” she says.
From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to express our profound gratitude for the comfort and care you and the staff showed Alex [not her real name] during her brief stay at Adrian House.
We were beyond thrilled with how well she was accepted into the Adrian House family, and although the transition was initially hard for her, we as a family watched her as she began to thrive like never before during the year she was living there. We saw a new twinkle in her eye as she spoke of going to eat Chinese food, taking a walk in different parks around Vancouver, going to Steveston, and various other places.
We were amazed with how quickly she began to call Adrian House her “home” and embraced communal living doing such things as creative cooking and playing crib with the other clients.
Both you and your staff did a wonderful job of taking care of her when she was healthy, and a truly amazing job of taking care of her when she was not well. The level of care and respect and professionalism you and your staff demonstrated when dealing with us as her family was so greatly appreciated.
You respected her for all her uniqueness as a person. You encouraged her to continue to try to better herself while also putting in place a wonderful safety net to catch her if she were to fall. We never saw her fall but only continue to improve under your careful watch.
“I’ve been at this for 20 years, and I’m still passionate,” says Sandra Warren. The residents at PCLA “inspire me so much.” We recently had the chance to sit down with Sandra Warren, Mental Health Worker at Adrian House, and talk about her role, Adrian House and the future of mental healthcare in British Columbia.
After spending 10+ years working for Supported Independent Living (SIL), Sandra moved to PCLA earlier this year. At SIL, Sandra worked in the community to help find housing for people with mental illnesses. Speaking about the transition to PCLA, Sandra said switching to an agency that provides residential services was “very different and personal, because you’re in [residents’] lives every day.” Like many PCLA employees, the personal relationship developed with residents create memories that stick with us for a long time. Sandra spoke about an elderly resident who was struggling to find meaning in her life. Speaking with her, Sandra pointed out “you’re making meals and exercising. You still have an awful lot to give, and you bring me and the other residents a lot of joy.” Continuing, “she just gave me the biggest smile”.
Often in mental healthcare, we have to understand that “success” looks very different for each resident. Some days, success is getting out of bed in the morning, other days it will be making dinner. Employees like Sandra help our residents achieve their own definition of success every day.
Sandra also spoke about the important niche Adrian House plays in the mental health landscape of BC and what the future of mental healthcare looks like. “Adrian House is unique in that it is a safe environment for some of these residents who aren’t ready to transition to the community,” says Sandra. “There is no timeline for Adrian House … this is their home as long as residents need.”
With employees like Sandra on the frontlines, the future of PCLA is in good hands. PCLA truly could not be where it is today without the support and hard work of each and every employee, volunteer, donor and partners. From the bottom of our hearts, we say thank you for all that you do. Find more resources and blogs from PCLA here.
Being able to watch clients grow over time and reach their goals is incredibly rewarding for the employees at PCLA. We spoke with Leah Robinson, Activity Coordinator at Dominion House, about her time with PCLA and the effect it has had on her. Transitioning from Miller’s Way (another of PCLA’s residences) to Dominion House “was a very rewarding process for me” said Leah. “I saw how many residents came to our facility and I could see how they transitioned to more independence.”
Leah is from Vancouver and is a graduate of Douglas College, having studied as a recreational therapist. She began work at PCLA in 2003 at Miller’s Way and transitioned to Dominion House when it opened in 2007. Speaking about the day-to-day responsibilities of her position, Leah highlighted the independence many Dominion House clients have worked to achieve. Leah facilitates group problem solving, exercise and meal planning programs for Dominion House residents.
When asked about the importance of Dominion House in the mental health landscape of B.C., Leah spoke about the niche that they try to fill. “It’s a great opportunity for people who aren’t quite ready to live independently, but otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to live to their potential… they are in a safe environment where they can explore their independence.” PCLA fosters a language of hope which is evident when speaking with employees like Leah.
Noting the importance of continuing to fight stigma around mental health, Leah stated that “many people have misconstrued ideas of what a person [living with mental health illnesses] is like. They are surprised to learn how much they can do, the independence they have.” By getting involved, having a conversation or self-educating, we can all work to end the stigma around mental health in our communities.
As always, we are so grateful for our employees. PCLA truly could not be where it is today without the support and hard work of each and every employee, volunteer, donor and partner, so we say thank you for all that you do. Find more resources and blogs from PCLA here.
Some of the best things about PCLA are the little conversations and relationships that are built between our employees and clients. This is true for Judy Morrissey, the Residential Coordinator at EBT. In a recent conversation, she talked about a client who had passed away earlier this year. “She had battled cancer for over 15 years,” said Judy, “and she is one who, every morning, I would knock on her door and just have a 10-minute conversation with and help her through the last few stages of her life.” Stories like these are the heartbeat of PCLA and they drive us to get up every morning and make an impact in our community.
Originally from Calgary, and a University of Saskatchewan graduate, Judy has been working at PCLA since 2002. In 2016, she moved to EBT and has been working as the Residential Coordinator ever since.
Because EBT is designed to provide more independent living, Judy works to facilitate volunteering, budgeting, leisure and social activities for clients. While discussing the importance of PCLA in B.C.’s mental health landscape, Judy said that there is still a lot of stigma around mental health, and that it continues to be misunderstood by the public. She says PCLA is here “to provide clients with a safe space and understanding”.
We asked Judy about the questions and comments she gets from friends and family about her work. She said that people often say that her job must be very stressful, but she doesn’t feel that way. “I feel more grateful to have [my job]. When you help [clients], you see your impact on them and it’s a great feeling”.
We cannot thank employees like Judy enough for the work they do and the amazing impact they have on the lives of our clients and our community. PCLA truly could not be where it is today without the support and hard work of each and every employee, volunteer, donor and partner. So truly, from the bottom of our hearts, we say thank you for all that you do. Find more resources and blogs from PCLA here.