HUB ED – a commemorative day

Mar 8, 2018 | News

HUB partners from St. Paul's Foundation, the Vancouver Police Department and Foundation, City of Vancouver, Weatherhaven Global Resources, Streetohome Foundation, and the St. Paul's HUB project team gathered in front of Jerry Whitehead's mural in the HUB ED. 

Our need to do something different when it comes to how we care for people with mental health concerns and problematic substance-use has been a vision long in the making, and has come to fruition in the HUB's model of care.

The vision of the HUB is three-fold:

  • The HUB ED to provide emergency care to people with mental health and substance-use concerns;
  • The Vancouver Police Foundation Transitional Care Centre (VPF TCC) to provide a safe space designed to connect people with transitional housing, income support, counselling and connection to Aboriginal healing programs in their community;
  • Rapid Access Addictions Clinic (RAAC) designed to connect patients seeking treatment for substance use disorders with evidence-based treatment including Suboxone or methadone in order to stabilize the patient in the short term, and subsequently transfer them to a community care provider for ongoing monitoring, support and rehabilitation.

The Vision in Action: RAAC

While crews were breaking new ground in the hospital’s courtyards for the HUB ED and the VPF TCC, we opened the RAAC in September 2016.

Thanks to the specialized staff, medical staff and peer navigators who work there, the RAAC, which will soon be extending its daily hours and opening on the weekends to accommodate ongoing demand, has helped more than 1500 people’s journey through substance-use disorder.

That’s powerful work. That’s work that defines the heart of Providence.

One Step Closer: The HUB ED

Construction on the HUB ED is now complete and the occupancy permit has been issued. The HUB ED operations will commence with a soft launch opening next week.

Amidst last-minute modifications and preparations to open the unit to treat a patient population who is in great need of specialized services, we took pause to officially recognize the space with a commissioning ceremony, led by our Indigenous Health Team.

Scott Harrison, director of Urban Health, Indigenous Health and Substance Use, opened the ceremony by recognizing the unit’s location: humbly on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish First Nations, the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam Nations.

Neil Fowler, team leader for Indigenous Health and Wellness at PHC, and team members Rebecca Hatch and Jason Cooke then took over the ceremony to lead the entire HUB partnership group in a traditional opening and welcoming.

Left to right: Scott, Brenda Vaughan, project manager for the HUB, Neil, Jason and Rebecca.

“You can smell that the space had already been smudged and see that we’ve hung fresh cedar this morning over the entrance of the HUB ED,” said Neil. He further explained, “When we brush ourselves off with cedar, we are cleansing ourselves and so by hanging it over a doorway of the HUB ED, the hope is that everyone who enters the space will receive that same cedar smudge.”

Then the focus turned to Jerry Whitehead, a Plains Cree artist from Saskatchewan, who was there to introduce everyone to his vibrant and striking murals. His artwork lines the hallway leading to the HUB ED and covers the main wall in front of the nursing station. Jerry explained his role as the one who “brightened” up the space with his murals. And he couldn’t be more right. Jerry’s colourful, story-rich wall paintings, which will soon be featured throughout St. Paul’s on 10C, RAAC, VPF TCC and the HUB ED, transform and warm the clinical space.

Everyone congregating after the commissioning to admire Jerry's work.

Neil and Rebecca capped off the commissioning by sharing healing energy through song. “We’ve been thinking about which song to share today and have decided that an Anishinaabe song, ‘Good Work’, which talks about the good that we do internally, within ourselves, in order to be best version of ourselves to help others, will help us all to think about the good work that will happen in the HUB ED,” Rebecca explained.

Turns out, in addition to the best design elements to provide optimal care for people with mental health and substance use concerns, the HUB ED also has the perfect acoustics for Neil and Rebecca’s voices, which washed over the space and filled everyone in the room.

Left to right: Neil, Jerry, Jason and Rebecca during Neil and Rebecca's singing of 'Good Work.' 

“With this opening and a commissioning in this way, everyone here today is part, not just of improving health care for people with mental health and substance use challenges, but of our journey towards reconciliation,” said Scott, as he closed out the commissioning. “We signed a declaration of cultural humility with First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) in September and, as an organization, we are progressing along our path of reconciliation. The HUB has become an important part of that work, to recognize that when patients enter the space they can see themselves in the building and have more a spiritual connection with the work that happens here.”  

Next up: VPF TCC

Work continues to complete construction on the Vancouver Police Foundation Transitional Care Centre – we will keep everyone posted on this site’s project status, and can’t wait to share the stories that come from the HUB's wraparound services and model of care.

See more about this work here:

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