An update on CAPSU…

The Cloverdale Paint Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit (CAPSU) opened on May 31, 2017. Since that date 822 children between the ages of 7 and 17 have been helped with their symptoms of mental illness.

The vast majority of children (87 per cent) who are admitted to this custom-built specialty unit, made possible in large part to Cloverdale Paint, are discharged to resume their young, full lives with supports in their school and community. Those youth who require more intensive and longer treatment are either admitted to the hospital’s Adolescent Psychiatric Unit, or are enrolled in the Adolescent Day Treatment Program where they receive ongoing counselling and attend school.

Prior to 2017 and the opening of CAPSU, children in mental illness crisis who presented in Fraser Health’s 12 emergency rooms had nowhere to go for immediate treatment. They were kept for long periods of time in crowded emergency rooms, or were placed in children’s medical wards. Neither of these locations offered the safe, specialized environment that children in crisis need. Now, Fraser Health, home to 43 per cent of BC’s children, can quickly refer children in crisis to CAPSU. Once assessed by a psychiatrist in their community emergency departments, children and teens are transferred to CAPSU in the safety of an ambulance. They are admitted directly into the unit where treatment can begin immediately.

The average length of stay in CAPSU is 5 days. During those 5 days the children are assessed by a diverse group of experts including psychiatrists, social workers, art therapists, occupational therapists and lay counsellors with lived experience. They leave CAPSU with new insight, newly found coping mechanisms and connections to community and medical services that can help them transition back to school and home.

CAPSU has a comfortable single bedroom for each patient, and it is the only unit of its kind in Canada to have a multi-sensory Snoezelen Room.