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Medical boarding home opens

Tim Edwards
Northern News Services
Published Friday, December 11, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Home to the largest hospital in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, Yellowknife hosts patients from throughout the two territories.

Larga Kitikmeot boarding home, which opened Dec. 2, will give patients from the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut a place to stay while away from their families.

"Larga is a place where patients can go and stay where they have medical appointments," said Casey Adlem, general manager of the Larga Kitikmeot.

Larga has been busy so far. It housed 44 patients on its first night open, and around 26 when Yellowknifer spoke to Adlem on Dec. 7.

The building can accomodate 56 people. The three-story home has 14 two-person rooms on each of its second and third floors. It cost about $6 million to build, and is a joint venture between the Kitikmeot Corporation and the Nunasi Corporation, according to Tim Zehr, president and chief operating officer of the Nunasi Corporation.

Adlem reports to a board made up of two members from each corporation. She has family in almost all the communities in the Kitikmeot, and lived in Cambridge Bay for eleven years.

"A lot of patients have been saying that one of the most important things to them is that when they walk in the building they see someone they recognize," said Adlem.

"My family's from the Kitikmeot region, so it comforts them knowing that someone that they know is here caring for them and running the boarding home."

Adlem said that, so far, those staying have really appreciated having televisions and phones in their rooms, as well as their own lockers for valuables.

"They like having the elevator because people have such heavy luggage, travelling back up to Nunavut," said Adlem.

The Larga replaces the Lene Pederson Medical Boarding Home, which did not have an elevator. The new home also includes a fully staffed kitchen and dining room offering three hot meals a day, and snacks 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

Aslem said the home is planning to provide games, entertainment, a Christmas dinner, and presents for the Christmas season.

"We'll make sure to keep them busy over the holidays so they're not too homesick," the manager said.

"Usually it's below 10 patients over the holidays, so it's a small number, but we'll do whatever we can to make them feel at home because they'd rather be at home than here."

Adlem said that she wants to keep activities going during the rest of the year as well, because some patients - especially those who just gave birth - are in the home for over a month.

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