By Steve Hubrecht
The Three Voices of Healing Society Wellness Centre on the Shuswap Indian Band reservation has earned the highest accreditation possible for a health treatment centre in Canada.
We received our accreditation with exemplary status, passing with a score of 98.9 per cent, so were pretty happy about that, said Three Voices executive director Delena Tikk. Only two other places in Canada have ever gotten a higher score, and one of them was Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.
Three Voices is a non-profit society that runs a 43-bed residential, alcohol and drug addiction treatment facility for First Nations. The centre initially achieved its accreditation (which has to be renewed every three years) through Health Canada by Accreditation Canada in 2005 when the centred was located in Creston. It was during this years renewal (2014) that the society passed with such flying colours.
The accreditation organization marks each health treatment centre on not just the state of its facilities, but also on governance, education and management. Exemplary standing is for organizations that go beyond the requirements of Accreditation Canada and demonstrate excellence in quality improvement, said Accreditation Specialist Pamela Naymark in an email. This status is especially rare to achieve on-site and has not been awarded as a result of follow-up.
Three Voices scored perfectly on 373 of the 380 criteria that Accreditation Canada measured.
The only thing that prevented us from getting a completely perfect score is that there is no formal evacuation plan in place for the Regional District of East Kootenay.
That was the one category of criteria on which we were less than perfect, said Ms. Tikk.
Since the last accreditation renewal in 2011, the centre has moved from Creston to the Upper Columbia Valley (a move that took place in 2012) and Ms. Tikk was actually nervous the centres score would not be high on this accreditation, given that its now a new facility in a new location.
The 2,500-square foot (230-square metre) facility operates with 43 beds, even though it only receives funding for 12. Clients come for six-week treatments and can participate in an additional 12-week follow up course done in partnership with the College of the Rockies, which helps them acquire skills for employment in industries such as mining and forestry.
With the Aftercare Program, weve had an 80 per cent success rate with people finding work and still being sober one year later, said Ms. Tikk, who developed the societys Aftercare Program based on the rehabilitation community San Patrignano in Italy, which works with the United Nations on addiction research. The Three Voices Aftercare Program went on to become the first of its kind in Canada. Ms. Tikk has since visited San Patrignano, a trip that she says has broadened her horizons on what the Three Voices Aftercare and Centre can be.
The centre is the first addiction treatment facility to receive accreditation with exemplary status (the other two locations to receive exemplary status are hospitals), and is the first to provide an after-care program, which resulted in a letter of congratulations to the centre from Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself.
This is something Invermere should be proud of, Ms. Tikk said, adding that Shuswap Indian Band and community support for the centre has been phenomenal.
Ms. Tikk extended particular thanks to Columbia Valley RCMP Staff Sergeant Marko Shehovac, local College of the Rockies campus president Doug Clovechok, and Joe Helmer of Max Helmer Construction.