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Red Fish Healing Centre: Model of Care

Our model of care, which describes how we care for patients and clients at the Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, is the only one of its kind in North America.

Representing the most leading-edge research, knowledge and practice in treating people with complex, concurrent disorders, the Red Fish Healing Centre has been designed around this new model of care. It is purpose-built to allow us to provide the best possible care for patients and clients living with complex concurrent disorders (co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders).

Download the model of care

The model of care has been custom-designed by a team that includes representatives from each of B.C.’s health authorities, health care professionals, physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, researchers, patients, clients and family members. It is based on the best evidence gleaned from in-depth research on concurrent mental health and substance use disorders, and represents decades of specialized experience and expertise in treating the most complex client and patient populations. 

Red Fish Healing Centre patient and client profile

Patients and clients admitted to the Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction may have several of these characteristics:

  • High degree of distress
  • Serious mental illness
  • Problems with cognitive functioning
  • History of severe substance use disorders
  • History of frequent overdose events
  • History of trauma and adverse childhood experiences
  • High levels of impulsivity
  • Chronic health conditions
  • History of difficulty engaging with treatment providers
  • Have no fixed address
  • Little recent employment or lack of high school education
  • History of self-harm

Six domains of wellness

Our model of care applies these guiding principles in six overlapping domains:

  • Physical wellness, including self-care and the activities of daily living
  • Mental wellness
  • Substance-free living
  • Addressing problem behaviours
  • Family and intimacy
  • Meaningful life
 Digram showing Red Fish model of care: Physical wellness; mental wellness; substance-free living; addressing problem behaviours; family & intimacy; and meaningful life; as well as Evidence Based and Data driven; Person and Family Centred: Team Based; Seamless and Integrated; Trauma Informed; Culturally Safe and Humble; and Recovery Oriented

Several unique levels of care

The Red Fish Healing Centre provides several levels of care to help patients and clients with a progressive approach to their recovery and eventual reintegration into their home communities, including continued care within their home health authorities.

Each of these levels of treatment recognize that a patient or client’s recovery journey is not linear. Some people may need only one or two levels of care. Others may need different levels of care on various units during the course of their recovery.

Having several different units in the same facility enhances our ability to provide the most appropriate level of care while maintaining consistency and continuity for patients and clients.

Most patients and clients are admitted to one of two 15-bed assessment and stabilization units to begin their recovery journey. These units are dedicated to comprehensive assessment and stabilization of acute symptoms. They feature close observation, withdrawal management, and the start of an intensive treatment program.

Clients and patients who are at the highest risk for aggression or other significant problem behaviours as a result of their complex mental health and substance use disorders are admitted to the enhanced care unit, which provides assessment, stabilization and treatment with an additional focus on behavioural management and de-escalation of violence.

This 15-bed unit is the first of its kind in British Columbia, filling an important gap in the province’s mental health and substance use care continuum.

Three 15-bed treatment units provide intensive treatment based on the client’s individualized care plan. 

Treatment options include both pharmacological and psychosocial interventions. Psychosocial interventions involve various kinds of therapies provided by a team of specialized mental health and substance use professionals. These therapies may include the following:

  • Counselling
  • One-on-one sessions with social workers
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Exercise programs
  • Recreation therapy
  • Life skills training
  • Educational training
  • Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous
All of these interventions focus on helping the client regulate their emotions, maintain their recovery, manage their mental health symptoms, and learn the life skills they need to successfully live in their home communities. 

One enriched treatment unit is available for clients who have underlying cognitive impairments or brain injuries in addition to a concurrent disorder. This unit offers all of the same assessments and treatments as the other treatment units, but with accommodations and additions tailored to patients’ and clients’ brain injuries and cognitive impairments. 

Three care pathways for three primary clusters of mental illness

No two client journeys are identical, but there are three primary clusters of mental illness among people who live with concurrent disorders:

  1. Mood disorders
  2. Psychotic disorders
  3. Disorders associated with substantial cognitive impairment (when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things or making decisions)

We have designed three unique clinical pathways for each of these three clusters. When clients are admitted to the Red Fish Healing Centre, we assess and assign them to one of these three clinical pathways based on their needs. Each pathway focuses on specific aspects of assessment and treatment with elements of overlap as necessary. Each pathway is flexible enough for personalization based on individual client needs, strengths and preferences.

Discharge planning at the Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction

The goal of treatment at the Red Fish Healing Centre is to support patients and clients with mental health, substance use, and other challenges to be able to live successfully with the support of the resources available in their home health authorities. In addition to community-based health care, two things are crucial to successfully transitioning home:

  1. Connection to a community support team and family members or friends 
  2. Secure, stable housing, such as supported housing, residential care, or independent living

As part of each patient or client’s discharge plan, we evaluate and make recommendations about housing and support arrangements that best enable them to stay in their communities while remaining safe and healthy.

Hands-on mental health and substance use research

Research, education and teaching is formally embedded into care at the Red Fish Healing Centre through BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services’ Research Institute. Researchers work alongside care providers to help ensure not only that our practices are rooted in evidence, but also that we are contributing to mental health and substance use knowledge across the globe, and helping other professionals turn knowledge into practice. 

Virtual health services

We have created a robust virtual health infrastructure that allows clients to receive psychiatric and medical care via videoconference. Virtual health continues to allow flexibility when physicians and other care providers are unable to visit clients face to face at the Red Fish Healing Centre.  

We also use virtual care to extend health care beyond our walls, using our resources to partner with community care facilities so that patients and clients can continue to receive the same quality of care after they go home, and avoid relapse. In addition to caring for our patients and clients, we hope to use virtual health to build capacity and improve services in rural, remote and otherwise underserved areas of the province. 

Access our Model of Care for more information on our approach to treatment.

SOURCE: Red Fish Healing Centre: Model of Care ( )
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