For almost 40 years, pediatricians from The Montreal Children’s Hospital have made regular visits to Quebec’s Cree, Inuit and Mohawk communities.
Over the years, the types of services available have grown and become more specialized but one thing remains constant: the access to tertiary care either within the northern communities or at The Children’s itself.
The program began by offering pediatric consultation service on demand, both in the communities and by telephone. Today, the Native and Northern Health Program provides a full range of pediatric services for all children in the communities it serves.
While the pediatric consultation service remains an important part of its service, the multidisciplinary team members also work to maintain close communication between the remote native communities and The Montreal Children’s Hospital.
The multidisciplinary team is made up of pediatricians, a nurse, social workers, audiologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, electrocardiogram technicians and biomedical engineers. They are supported by a number of sub-specialists and allied healthcare professionals who visit the northern communities as needed.
The pediatricians from the program visit all the northern communities served. What’s more, by visiting each community, they can offer continuing medical and health education sessions for clinical personnel in these remote areas.
After returning to The Montreal Children’s Hospital from any of these communities, the pediatricians continue to be available for further consultation. They ensure that patient transfers to the hospital are carried out efficiently, and that the patient benefits as much as possible from the hospital stay. They are also involved in the placement and use of new technologies to provide improved services to the regions. They visit with children who are hospitalized at The Children’s and inform the patient’s healthcare team about treatments and pertinent information about his or her community, and assure follow-up in outpatient clinics for children who are seen at the hospital for medical problems.
In identifying public health problems which affect the communities they serve, the pediatricians work closely with public health professionals to find solutions through healthcare prevention programs.
Looking towards the future and building on their wealth of experience, the multidisciplinary team of The Montreal Children’s Hospital Native and Northern Health Program is, and will continue to be, a valued partner for the healthcare professionals in the Cree, Inuit and Mohawk regions.