Earlier this month, two Carlile Youth Concurrent Disorders Centre nurses, Michelle Danda and Claire Pitcher, had the opportunity to highlight their program at Stimulus 2018, an international conference on drugs, policy and practice, which took place in Edmonton, Alberta.
They shared information about how their program operates at Carlile and offered a snapshot of lessons learned during the centre's first year, which was summarized in their poster entitled, The Winding Journey to Excellence: Sharing the successes and challenges of developing and opening an adolescent inpatient concurrent disorders unit in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Michelle and Claire provided an overview of the four-pillars approach of the centre (harm reduction, holistic withdrawal management, recovery-oriented care and trauma informed care) and how care is delivered in an inpatient setting open to adolescents ages 13 to 18 living with concurrent disorders. They also highlighted the many successes the program has had, such as engaging hard-to-reach youth in services, and the active work of challenging stigmatizing norms in how mental health and substance use services have traditionally been delivered. Their poster was among others focused on various areas related to harm reduction such as law and policy, new overdose prevention sites, harm reduction in inpatient hospital settings and more.
Funded in part by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), both nurses took the opportunity to engage with a diverse population of conferences attendees including health-care professionals, peer workers, policy makers, artists and activists. Michelle and Claire will also present their poster at future University of British Columbia (UBC) and VCH events.