Seven years ago, Isha Riberio stepped foot in Alberta Hospital for the first time. Her sister was suffering an acute state of psychosis and needed long-term hospitalization.
“Admitting a loved one to a hospital while they are totally confused is an incredibly hard thing to do,” Riberio said.
What made it more difficult for their family was seeing the state of the nearly century-old building.
“As you step through the Alberta Hospital doors you see a décor which looks old, dirty and dramatically outdated,” Roberio said.
She added that while the facility is clean, many of the floors and walls are stained and old mismatched furniture fills the common areas.
After supporting her sister through three stays at Alberta Hospital, Riberio decided to take action. With a background in construction and renovations, she made a unique plea to Alberta Health Services: Let the home building community fund a aesthetic makeover to some of the common areas.
After months of lobbying, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association got the green light from Alberta Health Services to move forward with a renovation.
“We work closely with Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services to make sure we are funded appropriately for the programs and services we offer,” said DeAnn Hunter, the site director for Alberta Hospital, admitting the facilities were less than ideal for patients with particular sensitivities to their surroundings.
“When we have an opportunity like this where a community organization steps up, everybody is on side to make it a better place for our patients and families, so it’s a win-win for everybody.”
The two-day renovation project will begin on Oct. 2 and will focus on two common areas at the facility.
The first is an outdoor courtyard, which will receive better lighting, a plant therapy area and a graffiti wall to improve the exterior environment for both adult and youth patients.
The second renovation will be in the Budzzz Bistro, a full service cafe operated by patients.
The renovations will allow for a greater menu offering and greater opportunities for patients to hone their customer-service or food-preparation skills.
This renovation will be a complete gut of the cafe area, featuring new flooring, cabinets, counter tops, window treatments and paint.
The renovations are estimated to cost at least $60,000.
Watch below: Local home builders are hoping to make a difference for patients with mental illness. A unique partnership with Alberta Hospital aims to create more inviting spaces for patients and their families. Margeaux Maron has the details.
Area construction suppliers will fund the materials while a group of 100 skilled tradespeople are scheduled to complete the work in two days starting in October.
This is the fourth year in a row where the Canadian Home Builders’ Association has funded charitable renovation for an Edmonton organization.
The association is still looking for community support for the project. If you would like to donate money or services to the renovation, contact CHBA here.