With a blue banner proudly showcasing the name of the crane supporting the construction of the Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre (JRSFHC)
, staff are commemorating Lorna Howes who was instrumental in the early advocacy of quality mental health care and the vision towards a truly innovative patient-centered experience.
“Lorna Howes was a pioneer in the advocacy of mental health,” says Dr. Soma Ganesan, Head and Medical Director for Mental Health.
“She was extremely devoted and hard-working, putting in 10- to 12-hour days, seven days a week, working tirelessly to ensure the best possible care for clients in need.”
Lorna worked over 20 years in mental health care, first as a psychiatric nurse and eventually as the Director for Mental Health Services for both Vancouver Acute and Community, a position that is now managed by four directors. When plans for the new JRSFHC began in 2012, Lorna served as a spokesperson during the fundraising process.
When construction began earlier this year, a contest to name the crane was held. After suggestions were put forward, staff from Vancouver Mental Health and Addiction, the Foundation, advisory and stakeholder groups agreed to call it “Lorna”. The banner and crane can be seen at VGH at the site of the former Willow Chest building, where JRSFHC will eventually be located.
“This is our way of officially paying tribute and paying our respects to the woman who consistently demonstrated what better patient care can be,” says Dr. Ganesan. “The banner reminds us to look at the past as foundation, but it also helps us stimulate new ideas and helps us move forward.”
Scheduled for completion by 2017, the JRSFHC has an innovative design based on the best patient-centered practices, including:
- A welcoming and bright building entry, with lots of natural light in common areas to create cheerful, healing spaces
- 100 private patient rooms, each with its own bathroom
- Dedicated, comfortable family and visitor space
- Access to outdoor space on each unit and rooftop gardens
- Exercise facilities
- Quiet places on each floor for reading and meditating