Pubdate: Thu, 24 Apr 2014
Source: Advertiser (CN NF)
Page: A3
Copyright: 2014 Advertiser
Author: Andrea Gunn


Grand Falls-Windsor Facility To Take First Patients In

With the new youth treatment centre in Grand Falls-Windsor getting
ready to open its doors, Health and Community Services Minister Susan
Sullivan was in town Monday to tour the $12.5 million facility and see
what it will offer.

Divided up into three pods with four bedrooms each, the centre will be
able to treat 12 youth at a time.

The facility is equipped with several observation and examination
rooms as well as bedrooms, kitchen areas, a gymnasium, workout room,
art room, and classrooms.

There is also an apartment for families of young people seeking
treatment that will help reintegrate them into home life. It has taken
almost five years to build the youth treatment centre from conception
to completion.

Speaking to the media after the tour, Sullivan said though she had
seen the building plans and had a brief tour during the construction
phases, today was the first time she had had a detailed tour of the

"Coming in today this was a really exciting time for us. There's no
doubt what we've built here is state of the art and the real
beneficiaries will be youth that are here and have opportunity to
re-direct their lives as a result," Sullivan said.

Sullivan said while the building itself was something to marvel, the
staff that will work closely with the youth are world class, bringing
many years of experience to the program.

The aim of the new youth treatment centre will be to work in
conjunction with other healthcare services in the province, to assess
youth with complicated needs that would benefit from a long-term
treatment program, according to Val Elson, Regional Manager of Health
and Addictions Services.

Youth will be chosen by a provincial committee based on assessed
needs. The centre in Grand Falls-Windsor will deal mostly with youth
suffering from severe addictions, while an identical facility in
Paradise, slated to open this fall, will take in youth with complex
mental health needs.

Elson said with the type of drugs available to youth today, from
marijuana and alcohol to things like cocaine and prescription
medication, an intensive treatment program like what will be offered
in Grand Falls Windsor is crucial.

But, according to Desmond Coombs, Director of Mental Health and
Addictions Services with Central Health, this part of the treatment is
just one aspect of a continuum of care across the province that seeks
to educate, prevent, treat and continue to prevent relapse of youth
with addictions.

"There's front line councilors who are providing care in their
communities, and then there's vey complex heavy duty cases where we
need to take the youth, put them in a safe environment, safe for their
mind body and spirit so they have a chance to recover," he explained.
"And then just as important having a connection back with the services
in the community. That's the whole key idea of having an apartment
here so the families can come. They can see how the treatment works,
receive some family therapy together and then take the knowledge and
the experience and go back to their home and community."

Coombs also said 40 plus staff at the new treatment centre will be
working closely with professionals across the province to offer
cutting edge treatment.

"(This will become) an centre of excellence for new ideas, new
interventions, new treatments, and then hopefully standardize
interventions throughout the province. This is really going to be the
beginning; this is the hub for major changes to the province over the
next 5-10 years. That's what really makes this place more exciting ,"
he said.

While there had been some concerns several years back from residents
about the existence of this type of facility in the community,
Sullivan said she hasn't heard a single word of protest since the
initial concerns and said in her estimation the public is fully
supportive of the endeavor.

"The staff has done a wonderful job in terms of awareness of what kind
of (institution) this is. This is a centre where people want to get
better," Sullivan explained. "When (the public) sees commitment of the
province to this, that it is state of the art, I think all of those
factors together have made a difference in terms of the acceptance

Coombs added that the building is also extremely secure, with many
safety measures in place to protect both the young people and the public.

"There's going to be staff here 24 hours a day, there are protocols
for any kind of child that's lost and they'll be implemented
immediately," he said.

"When you focus on the child's needs and protect the child, then a
secondary gain is that the whole community is protected Coombs said
one of the aims of the centre is to incorporate the community as part
of the treatment in a way that will be beneficial to their patients.

"We're going to have the doors open to have the community become part
of our community here, we already have people from the arts community
who want to volunteer to provide art and for our youth," Coombs said.
"The more people from our community coming in to become part of our
services will enhance (our treatment), because we'll be giving youth
an opportunity to see people who want to give to them, and that will
give them so much dignity and pride."

The youth treatment centre will open late next month and is expected
to take its first residents in early June.  
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