A room with a view, support for the whole family
New Kuujjuaq centre will house perinatal and early childhood program
KUUJJUAQ—It’s a room with a view, but a new space in Kuujjuaq dedicated to health services promises much more than that.
The Ungava Tulattivik Health Centre is the first in the region to roll out an integrated perinatal and early childhood services program, often called by its French-language acronym, SIPPE, for “services intégrés en périnatalité et petite enface.”
The program brings together health care professionals and social programming from across the region to offer a one-stop support shop to children from birth until they enter school, and to expectant parents.
From the time a woman learns she’s pregnant, she and her spouse and family can access pre-natal support and services like nutritional workshops, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder prevention or family counselling.
But finding a place to offer those services, especially group-focused ones, is a challenge at the busy health centre.
When the program coordinators began hosting baby showers for new mothers, they had to host these at the transit centre adjacent to the hospital, which is used to host patients visiting Kuujjuaq from other communities around the region.
“We were stuck, we had no room to host family activities,” said Bruno Massicotte, SIPPE co-ordinator at the Tulattavik Health Centre
That was until the program secured a nearby building, once used as a youth centre, and had it renovated to serve as the new Youth and Family Activity Room. Ilagiiluta, as it’s known in Inuktitut, opens later this week.
“I think families will find it more friendly, more welcoming,” Massicotte said. “They don’t always like having to come to the hospital. This is more private, less official.”
The new “room” is a bright and open space, its walls painted in colourful Inuit imagery by Kuujjuaq artist Nancy Saunders.
The space includes a play area for children, a kitchen for food preparation, a table, comfortable couches and windows overlooking the Koksoak River.
But more importantly, the space will give families a dedicated space to tap into all the social pediatrics that SIPPE offers.
The family room will stick to a schedule; Massicotte said it’s not meant to operate as a drop-in centre.
The new space also comes at a good time; the program is currently following 65 families, a number Massicotte describes, “a lot.”
That said, there is no barrier to receiving services through the program—any parent, couples who are pregnant or who have children can ask for support.
“We can have a referral, or a family can just ask for help,” he said. “But there’s no criteria—just if they ask for it.”
Ilagiiluta or the Youth and Family Activity Room will host an open house March 1 from 3 to 5 p.m. The centre is located at building 562, near the fire station.