CLBC LogoNovember 20th, 2015

PAC-mono-200Thousands of individuals, families and organizations in BC share a common aim: to ensure individuals with development disabilities are fully included in their communities.

But what happens when mental illness or behavioural challenges get in the way? That’s when a dedicated team of specialists at CLBC’s Provincial Assessment Centre (PAC) may be able to help.

PAC is a Burnaby-based assessment and treatment planning resource for families and service agencies. PAC’s skilled and caring staff uses their expertise to help youth and adults with multiple challenges thrive as independently as possible in community.

Admissions may last from two weeks to three months, based on referrals from CLBC, DDMHS and MCFD (Ministry of Children and Family Development) and collaboration with the person’s support network.

PAC’s diverse group of health professionals assess the person’s well-being, strengths, capabilities and clinical features before sending them home with a comprehensive care plan.

We asked four PAC staff how they work together to make the community more welcoming for people with developmental disabilities.


Who do you serve at PAC?

PAC program coordinator Joan Warner: “We serve individuals who have come to a place in their life that is not working for them and their care teams. They present complex issues and our role is to bring a better understanding and clarification to their support needs and how to best integrate in their homes and communities.

It takes a whole community’s understanding, compassion and support for individuals to live successfully with behavioural challenges and mental illness.”

What is your approach, and how do you review a person’s supports?

Tye Harrington, mental health support worker: “PAC uses the individual’s strengths to build on their skills and encourage independence so they can manage better in community.

Collaborating on the person’s care includes finding successes and bridging what isn’t working. We talk it over as a team and the individual where possible to find the best fit.”

What does the process look like?

Nurse Paula Bouliane: “No one size fits all. Everyone comes with their own challenges.

The process for me is like being the spider web, but not the spider. Whether it’s a new prescription or change to someone’s environment, we look for the links and where we need to go and how to get to the point where we’d like to be.”

How does the team work together?

Occupational therapist (OT) Cindy Ho: “I get a lot of input from the unit staff about how they are doing on the unit or on public outings 1-1 and group.

I look at a person’s functional abilities – their knowledge, social skills, emotions and sensory abilities – to see how it impacts their day-to-day world.

We work collaboratively with people and their community, to find out what they are experiencing.”

What kinds of challenges do you face?

Joan Warner: “Finding services for seniors with developmental disabilities with complex issues presents challenges. It requires partnerships and creativity.

Building relationships and partnerships is ongoing and essential. Communities are constantly changing. Capacity building, follow-up and evaluation is required to better identify successes. Some people hop off whilst others hop on. It’s a continuous process.”

You can learn more about PAC by visiting their website here.