The families of residents of a group home for those with serious mental health issues slated to close in August breathed a sigh of relief last week as Fraser Health reversed its decision.
The 25 residents of Mountain View care facility on Boundary Road in Abbotsford, on the border of Chilliwack, were told in September the home would be forced to shut its doors in August 2016.
The decision was met with shock from family members of the residents, and from staff at Mountain View.
Back when the announcement was made, director of care for the facility, Patrick Newby, said “the residents living at Mountain View consider it home.”
Tove Olsen’s son Barry Johnson Jr., who suffers from schizophrenia, is 49 years old and has lived at Mountain View for 20 years. Olsen was extremely worried when she learned the facility would close.
“It is disastrous what is happening there,” she told the Times.
The replacement for Mountain View is a 50-bed mental health facility under construction on Marshall Road in Abbotsford.
Both Fraser Health and Health Minister Terry Lake said the reason for the closure is because Mountain View does not have multi-level care, in other words, a variety of less intense care options to help transition patients into independent living.
And while Olsen and other family members, including the Chilliwack families of a dozen residents, found out their loved ones will get to stay at Mountain View if they want to, that doesn’t mean it still won’t close.
Fraser Health said these residents can stay, but when they do leave, the health authority will not fill the beds.
NDP mental health critic Sue Hammell called the news “mean-spirited and cruel.” She told Global TV that Fraser Health was keeping the facility open with one hand while closing it with another.
Still, for family members and those in support of Mountain View, there is relief.
“It is a big step in the right direction,” Newby said on Saturday. “All of us (residents, family, staff, community) are ecstatic.”