Extending a helping hand to those who need it most

Social Worker Paola Borghello at PRAIDA headquarters

When we commit to protecting the well-being of society’s most fragile individuals, it’s natural for us to think first about the elderly residents in our long-term care facilities, the clients in our rehabilitation facilities, or the hospitalized patients in Intensive Care.

However, CIUSSS West-Central Montreal is also proud and privileged to play a role in providing frontline support to the many waves of vulnerable individuals—including refugees and other asylum seekers—who have sought safe haven in Canada in recent months.

This strong and steady flow has not only generated headlines around the world, but drawn attention to the outstanding work that our CIUSSS is accomplishing through PRAIDA (Programme régional d’accueil et d’intégration des demandeurs d’asile) in delivering counselling, social services and other crucial types of support to the newcomers.

Of course, given the unusual circumstances, we are not alone in our efforts. A great deal of help has been forthcoming from agencies at all levels of government, as well as from other CIUSSS’s in Quebec’s healthcare system. However, there is no doubting the significant contribution we have had the opportunity to make, under the leadership of Associate CEO Francine Dupuis and Sébastien Blin, Associate Director of Frontline Services.

By working together, we have enabled many hundreds of asylum seekers to begin finding their way in a new country that may seem strange, bewildering and possibly even intimidating. Our responsibility as professionals, whether in health care or other fields, is to be especially attentive to their needs and to extend to them the same respect, dignity, reassurance and compassion that are intrinsic to an exceptional user experience.

This outreach is especially meaningful at a time of year when our thoughts turn to gratitude and renewal in celebrating Thanksgiving on October 9 and the Jewish New Year, starting at sundown on September 20. It’s a time to reflect on the blessings we have enjoyed over the past year, as well as our determination to give of ourselves—both professionally and personally—to those who look to us for comfort and reassurance.

To all members of CIUSSS staff, I would like to extend my warmest wishes for a joyous Thanksgiving and a sweet New Year, in which you are inscribed for health and happiness.

Lawrence Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D.
President and CEO