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St. Boniface Hospital celebrates extensive upgrades to mental health facility

A family room at St. Boniface Hospital's McEwen Building following renovations. Supplied / St. Boniface Hospital Foundation

St. Boniface Hospital has completed a $2.7-million renovation to its mental health facilities.

“At St. Boniface Hospital, sustainable healing is about rejuvenating the whole person – body, mind and spirit,” said Martine Bouchard, president and CEO of St. Boniface Hospital.

The St. Boniface’s McEwen Building is home to the hospital’s mental health program, where thousands of patients find care each year.

The renovations were completed in April and the hospital had a virtual reopening ceremony Tuesday morning to showcase the improvements.

Read more: St Boniface Hospital’s McEwen Building needs help to continue helping thousands

Ninety-two donors were responsible for $1.5 million of the total money invested. The provincial government, St. Boniface Hospital Foundation and the hospital itself covered the rest.

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The goal of the project was to create a more calming and home-like atmosphere for patients, while also providing a better function and flow for the staff to work, the hospital said.

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Updates were made to the physical space to enhance the overall quality of care, as well as minimizing potential safety risks.

“We’re proud to support St. Boniface Hospital, and the work being done to improve the lives of Manitobans overcoming mental health challenges,” said Minister of Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery, Audrey Gordon.

“Having a dedicated unit for mental health will help patients on their journey to wellness.”

An inpatient bedroom at St. Boniface Hospital’s McEwen Building following renovations and upgrades. Supplied / St. Boniface Hospital Foundation

Amongst the improvements, the patient’s rooms have been updated with new flooring, refreshed walls and the addition of anti-barricade door features to prevent incidents.

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Read more: Manitoba spending $3.5 million for improved mental health, addictions support at HSC

Family and recreation areas have been redesigned to maximize natural light and optimize space, with upgraded kitchen and dining rooms as well.

The existing bathrooms have been enhanced with a more accessible display, plus two additional washrooms to facilitate self-care.

Spaces to learn independent living skills have also been renewed.

A dining room and lounge at the St. Boniface Hospital’s McEwen Building following renovations. Supplied / St. Boniface Hospital Foundation

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According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, people are facing unprecedented feelings of stress and anxiety during the pandemic.

“Taking on this role during the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly oriented me to the significant impact the pandemic has had on Manitoban’s mental health and substance use,” said Gordon.

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The program takes care of 400 inpatients and 14,000 outpatients annually.

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