Meet Eusi — A Client at Alder
It’s been over a year since we opened Alder at Langara, a 20-bed specialized neuropsychiatry unit located on the first floor of the St. Vincent’s Langara residential care facility.
Alder is one of many new tertiary (specialized) mental health services to open over the last few years to serve people with mental health needs in the VCH/PHC geographic region.
It’s a real privilege for us to serve those who call Alder their home while they take part in specialized mental health care.
Today, we’d like to introduce you to Eusi, who lives at Alder.
Eusi (pronounced U – C) was one of the first to move into the Alder Unit in May 2011, the Riverview Hospital unit he lived in for the last 8 years closed. He wants you to know three important things about himself. Eusi:
- Has a brain injury.
- Is Interior Salish from the Penticton Indian Band.
- Is a good looking guy
“I immediately liked being at Alder. Its a nice place; the staff are nice and they like me – so I like them,” said Eusi. He is happy with his relationship with other Alder clients, saying that “no one bothers me here” and that he feels free to participate in activities as he chooses.
Before the car accident that resulted in his head injury, Eusi described himself as a “bad boy” involved in criminal activities and high-risk living.
However, since the accident and extended coma that followed, he’s “lost interest in fighting” and is “a good boy now”. Indeed, Eusi is known by staff and other people in the Alder community as a friendly and fun person with a good sense of humour and great laugh.
Unique needs, individualized care
Alder provides a safe, supportive and home-like environment for people from the VCH and Fraser Health geographic regions with complex brain disorders/mental health needs. The care team supports the client to progress in their care, with the goal of helping them transition them back to their home community with appropriate supports in place.
In keeping with the Alder philosophy of recovery and client-centered care, Eusi has an individual rehabilitation program that involves walking and swimming and physio to maintain his physical mobility and to support his personal goal of becoming more fit.
He loves going on bus outings with other Alder clients, and has especially enjoyed trips to Stanley Park and the Queen Elizabeth Park Observatory. He looks forward all week to his Thursday trips with his companion, particularly movie days when they catch a matinee, and day trips to Granville Island to feed the seagulls.
When he’s not watching TV and “chillin’ like a major villain,” as he puts it, Eusi is an avid participant in cooking and baking activities on the unit and loves spending an afternoon playing board games with volunteers and other people at Alder.
Recovery and reintegration
Our services are adapting to the evolving needs of people who need mental health care.
Programs like Alder are the future for mental health services – they focus on recovery and reintegration into the community, and going forward, they will become highly effective resources in our overall system of care.
Clients may stay at Alder for a number of years before transitioning back to living in the community with support in place, or another care facility. Eusi doesn’t know about what he wants after his time at Alder but is glad he’s here for this part of his recovery journey.
Eusi had one more thing about himself he wanted you to know: he’s single, too!
Angela White, St. Paul's Hospital Volunteer