The House of Hospitality (HoH) is a 39 bed short term residential unit where clients with acute mental health problems receive care. It is located along Chimaliro road, some few meters to St. John’s Mission Hospital just after Lunyangwa bridge. The unit opened its doors to clients from all the districts of the Northern Region in 1995. Clients admitted to this unit are usually referred from all district hospitals in the region, Mzuzu Central hospital and other private health institutions. The House of Hospitality (HOH) is a Christian health facility that operates under Catholic values.
Care provided to clients in this unit is guided by the Bio-psychosocial model and decisions regarding course of action on individual client’s care is made by a multidisciplinary team that frequently meets and discusses clients’ progress. This team comprises members/professionals from various disciplines such as; The clinical team, nursing team, social worker, psychosocial counsellor, occupational therapist, psychologist and pastoral carer just to mention a few. In this unit, clients are provided with holistic comprehensive assessment and care that emphasizes on the uniqueness of each individual’s condition. Clients presenting with physical problems that require intensive diagnostic assessments are referred to Mzuzu Central hospital.
The HoH is divided into three sub-units namely: Likoma, House and the Centre for Living. As is the case with every admitting hospital, the unit also has a Pharmacy where all medical supplies required for clients care are stored. Below is brief description of each sub-unit under HoH;
This is an acute admission unit with a bed capacity of 13 (7 for male clients and 6 for female clients). Clients that seek acute mental health services are usually admitted to this sub-unit upon arrival so that their acute symptoms are managed first before being engaged in other rehabilitative care. Medication forms a backbone of the care provided in addition to other nursing, psychological and spiritual care interventions. Clients are also engaged in therapeutic recreational activities such as watching television, playing Bawo, cards, football and other indoor and outdoor games to keep their minds stimulated and focused. As clients’ mental status improves (usually after two to three weeks of intensive therapy), they are transferred to the House for continued rehabilitation.
2. THE HOUSE
This is mainly a rehabilitation unit where stabilizing clients that have had their acute symptoms managed are taken care of. This sub-unit has 5 wards with a total of 26 beds. The wards’ names represent the remaining district of the Northern Region namely; Rumphi, Nkhata-Bay, Mzimba, Karonga and Chitipa. In this sub-unit, clients are allowed to live an independent life just as they would when at home i.e. they store their own clothes, participate in taking care of their property among others. This is done in order to prepare them for re-integration into the community once they get discharged. Additionally, as part of rehabilitation, clients are intensively involved in decisions regarding their care and thorough occupational assessments are also conducted to identify any occupational /functional deficits on which to base their plan of care. Clients still continue to receive medication and other forms of therapies such as counselling, spiritual accompaniment and other forms of care depending on identified need. To further enhance autonomy, clients are exposed to various occupational skills and are allowed to make a choice regarding which one to be involved in.
3. CENTRE FOR LIVING
This is another sub-unit of the HoH which is located across the road, a few meters behind St. John’s College of Nursing Hostels. This is entirely an occupational rehabilitation unit where such occupational skills as Tailoring, Carpentry and Joinery, Brick-laying, Horticulture and Home management are offered to clients recovering from mental health problems on a pre-vocational skill basis. Clients who are taken to this sub-unit on daily basis, are those that have already been assessed by the occupational therapist and have choses which activities to be engaged in. Apart from these occupational skills, clients are also engaged in group therapy, individual counselling, recreational therapy and also continued educational sessions on various topics bordering on their illnesses and care at home.
4. THE PHARMACY
Located within the house of hospitality along Chimaliro road, the pharmacy manages the drug supply chain in the unit (house, Likoma, centre for living and Venegas), St. John of God Centre, Child Development Centre as well Outreach clinics and the elderly department. The pharmacy is also responsible for assessing the quality, efficacy and safety of medicines in use. It houses a wide variety of medicines including anti-psychotics, ant-depressants, anti-epileptics/anti-convulsants benzodiazepines, physical medicines and many more.