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Westmount YMCA offers residence to Inuit patients

Nunavik region’s health and social services search for permanent residence in Montreal

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The Northern Quebec Module (NQM), a branch of the Inuulitsivik Health Centre that facilitates health care for Inuit patients in Montreal, announced on March 2 that it will be centralizing its facilities.

The NQM will consolidate its resources, currently scattered across Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, when it moves to the YMCA’s Y Residence in Westmount on April 9.
The Inuulitsivik Health Centre, along with the Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS), makes up the Nunavik health and social services network. These organizations serve 14 communities in the Nunavik region of Northern Quebec, 90 per cent of whose residents are Inuit.

They routinely refer patients that they cannot accommodate to Montreal for specialized medical treatments. The NQM processes these referrals and arranges all transportation, lodging, interpretation, follow-up, and support services for the patients and their families.

According to an NRBHSS press release, the new facility remains a “short- and medium-term” relief for for the NQM’s continuing need for a permanent residence in Montreal. The NBRHSS press release also states, “the MNQ is pleased to retain the services of Chez Gigi et Michèle, a residential resource that will continue offering lodging to pregnant women who encounter complications during their pregnancy.”

The goal of permanent residence seemed in reach last May when the NQM sought to purchase a vacant former Chinese hospital in Villeray. Several elected officials and residents objected to the plan, making the NQM apprehensive about community acceptance and ultimately led to the decision to look for space elsewhere.

“Faced with the opposition,” said an NRBHSS press release from September 9, 2010, “the Nunavik health and social services organizations were strongly concerned that the Inuit clientele would not be accepted in the Villeray borough.”

“The organizations of the Nunavik network firmly believe that the injury inflicted is too deep to pursue the relocation project to the former Chinese hospital,” Alasie Arngak, chairperson of the NRBHSS board of directors, added in the press release.

The consolidation of the NQM’s services at the Y has several benefits including increased security. At the Y Residence the NQM’s patients will enjoy the building’s security service, its registered and controlled user access, and additional security guards posted 24 hours a day on the three floors occupied by the NQM.

As to amenities, the Y Residence offers 150 beds, an on-site cafeteria, as well as laundry facilities. Its proximity to the McGill University Health Centre will also make the centre’s services more accessible to patients.