By PAMELA FAYERMA
Vancouver Sun, November 28, 2010 - Medicine Matters
Journalism is rewarding, especially when stories have an impact on public policy or when they lead to positive change for those in greatest need. Last week, the provincial government announced it was pledging $4.1 million to help launch the Woodstone Residence for patients aged 17 to 24 with eating disorders. The decision followed some heart-wrenching stories I wrote - including this one - about the paucity of treatment options for those with eating disorders. Last week, I got an email from Cindy Dobbe, the founder of the foundation responsible for the new facility, alerting me to the government's decision. She also thanked me, saying:
"With your help, this is now a reality. I can’t thank you enough!!"
There's no way I could, should or would ever take even a bit of credit for this development regarding the residential facility but it's gratifying to hear when stories have played any kind of role in effecting change. Here's a photo and news release about the facility:
BC to Host Canada’s First Publicly Funded Residential Treatment Centre for Adolescents and Young Adults with Eating Disorders
Canada's first publicly funded residential treatment centre for eating disorders will open its doors in February 2011, providing best practice integrated care for adolescents and young adults (ages 17-24) suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and eating disorder not otherwise specified. Located on Galiano Island, the former Woodstone Inn has been redeveloped as the Woodstone Residence with the capacity to treat 20 medically stable individuals who require intensive and highly structured multidisciplinary care in a residential type therapeutic environment.
A decade in the making and spearheaded by three mothers who lived through the heartache of their daughters’ experiences with eating disorders, and the lack of adequate resources in BC, the Woodstone Residence adds a significant and valuable resource to the province’s continuum of care. Owned and operated by the Looking Glass Foundation in partnership with and supported by BC’s Ministry of Health Services, Ministry of Children and Family Development, and Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Woodstone Residence will provide evidence informed residential treatment for individuals at varying stages of recovery, delivered by highly skilled and experienced medical and counselling professionals, with the ultimate goal of helping them to full recovery.
"We are thrilled to see this day arrive and to know that our perseverance has paid off for the benefit of so many in BC who suffer from various eating disorders," said Looking Glass Foundation Chair and Founder Cindy Dobbe. "We would not be here today without the support of the Provincial Government and Health Minister Kevin Falcon, as well as the generosity of a number of BC companies and individuals, all of whom have come together to provide the funding necessary to open our doors in February."
Located on Galiano Island, mid-way between Victoria and Vancouver, the Woodstone Residence will deploy telehealth outreach, assessments and treatment thanks to a generous contribution from TELUS. "Videoconferencing is fundamental to our mission," said Dr. Laird Birmingham, Medical Director of Woodstone Residence. "It allows us to assess patients and speak to clinicians around the province, continue to access and plan hometown support during the admission, provide follow-up and family counselling from afar and pool knowledge and teach the community of clinicians that treat eating disorders in all parts of BC."
Founded in 2001 by Cindy Dobbe, Deborah Grimm and Dolores Elliot, the Looking Glass Foundation is a not for profit society governed under the Societies Act of BC. The Looking Glass Foundation has worked for 10 years to develop and open the Woodstone Residence. In addition, it has provided provide support for individuals and families struggling with eating disorders via advocacy and public information initiatives, support groups, a summer camp for adolescents, an "ask an expert" online question and answer page, a scholarship fund, and other projects.