Campbell River's Q̓ʷalayu House will support families seeking medical care
The house features 10 beds, shared kitchen space, stocked pantries and activity rooms
A new home away from home officially opened in Campbell River on Monday to support families and expectant mothers seeking maternal and pediatric care.
Q̓ʷalayu House is a 10-bed home next to North Island Hospital, and families will be able to stay at the house starting this summer.
Families who live in the North Island region often have to travel hours to Campbell River to seek medical care for their children, and the goal of Q̓ʷalayu House is to provide a place of support during an often emotionally and financially stressful time.
"The distance is such a barrier to accessing health care," said Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island CEO Veronica Carroll.
"You can imagine how stressful that is for women to have to move out of their home communities and leave all of their support systems behind right before they are able to welcome their new addition to the family."
The project has been in the works for seven years, and the foundation first broke ground in 2019. Caroll says the Vancouver Island community helped raise $7 million for the house.
Q̓ʷalayu, pronounced Kwuh-li-you, is a word from the Laichwiltach dialect. It is a term of endearment families use for their children that means their reason for being.
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The house has 10 bedrooms that all have personal bathrooms. There is also a shared kitchen space, a stocked pantry, laundry facilities, an activity room and a quiet room.
There's space outside for families to barbecue and for children to play.
"We have pretty much a space for all the needs an individual might have," said Caroll.
Health care professionals, social workers and family support services are able to book a room at the house directly for families in need.
Foundation board chair Bryan Thomson said Q̓ʷalayu House was developed as a safe place for all families.
"Our work with ensuring cultural safety doesn't stop with the building of the home," he said in a release.
"Our team is dedicated to continuing to learn from and listen to the experiences of Indigenous families so we can work hard to ensure that this will remain a culturally safe space for all families far into the future."
With files from All Points West