Margareta Rawlins was a bit anxious but mostly excited when she heard her husband who was receiving care at Regional Mental Health Care London (RMHCL) was going to be transferred to a hospital close to their home town of Cambridge. “Edward had really good care at RMHCL, so I was a bit nervous when I thought of him transferring to a new place, hoping his care would be as good as what he received at St. Joseph’s.”
Margareta’s husband, Edward, had already had a long journey before he arrived at RMHCL. An early onset of Alzheimer’s had resulted in some mental health issues and the nursing home he was cared for in Cambridge was not equipped to handle his specialized care. At that time, in 2008, Waterloo Region did not have a facility to support Edward’s care so he was sent to the geriatric psychiatry program at RMHCL. “I was so impressed with the staff at RMHCL,” says Margareta. “I knew things were going to get better for my husband.” After a short time Edward’s condition improved, his medication was adjusted and he was doing very well.
In the fall of 2010 a transformative step happened for mental health care in Southwestern Ontario. In the past, patients were sent to both RMHC London and St. Thomas for care from all across the region and now steps were being made to transfer people back to hospitals in their home communities where hospitals would now be able to support patients with mental health care needs.
For RMHC the first divestment of four happened when staff and patients transferred to Grand River Hospital in Kitchener - a huge undertaking for staff, patients and families. For Margareta, her husband was simply moving closer to home.
“I was really happy with the care at RMHC, but not happy with the drive,” says Margareta, who would take the hour long drive twice a week to visit her husband. “Sometimes the roads were really treacherous in the winter; it was difficult to get there as often as I wanted.” Now she travels 10 minutes down the road. “Having my husband closer to home has tripled the amount of time I spend with him!”
Margareta believes after all this change Edward is in a good place. “His quality of life is the best it can be - and I am spending more time with him, rather than in the car.”