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Unique pilot program to help families of kids with most complex medical needs
CHEO-led program receives over $2.4 million over 5 years from federal government
Ottawa, July 17, 2015 – The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and its community partners are celebrating the announcement today of federal funding for a unique pilot program that will help families manage the social, emotional and economic burden of caring for children with complex medical conditions.

The Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development, announced more than $2.4M in funding over five years for the Navigator Program – “Strong Families for Vibrant Futures”. As a pilot, it will create tools that other communities across Canada can use as they develop best practices and help to spread the navigator program model.

The program will provide the three most precious commodities to families of complex care children: time, emotional support and information. As a result, parents will improve their well-being, be able to return to work or stay at work and maintain the well-being of their whole family.

The Navigator Program builds on the pioneering work of the Champlain Complex Care Program, which has been funded by the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). Navigator brings many players together across the community, including parents and families, the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC), the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), community physicians, Ottawa Children's Coordinated Access & Referral to Services (Coordinated Access), Service Coordination of Ottawa, the Ottawa Rotary Home, Roger's House and the Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre.

An estimated 6,269 very high care need children, who are considered medically fragile and technology dependent, live in Ontario, and approximately 13% of them – or over 800 children – live in the Champlain LHIN area. The program aims to help 150 families.

“This innovative pilot really takes a family-centred approach to helping those whose children have the most complex medical challenges – making a real difference in their lives,” said Alex Munter, President and CEO of CHEO. “This is a great example of the community rallying together to help parents.”

Caring for children with complex medical conditions has serious social, emotional and economic impacts on their parents and families as they try to coordinate the services their children need.

Like all children, they have a range of needs from education and friendship to recreation, but also require much more to stay well and happy. Their care draws on therapists, medical specialists, respite or palliative care, home care, special supports to participate in school and community activities, specialized equipment, and more.
While the healthcare system covers the costs of medical treatment, these families’ medical circumstances often lead to challenges the conventional healthcare system does not address – and that’s where the Navigator Program will step in.

About CHEO
The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) is the pediatric hospital of Canada’s capital and helps over 500,000 children and youth each year. CHEO has more than 2,500 doctors, nurses and staff dedicated to providing the best possible care for the children and youth of Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec, Nunavut and parts of Northern Ontario.

CHEO works closely with the University of Ottawa as a teaching hospital and fosters groundbreaking research through the CHEO Research Institute. CHEO’s vision is to change young lives in our community, while our innovation changes young lives around the world.
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For more information, please contact:

Eva Schacherl

Communications Manager and Strategist
Cell: 613-769-5553 
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