Iqaluit medical boarding home faces 'an explosion' of patients

The Tammaativvik Boarding Home in Iqaluit needs more space as the facility is always full and often beyond capacity, say staff.

Staff say more space needed to continue providing good care

Iqaluit medical boarding home faces 'an explosion' of patients

7 years ago
Duration 1:31
Iqaluit medical boarding home faces 'an explosion' of patients

The Tammaativvik Boarding Home in Iqaluit needs more space because the facility is often full or beyond capacity, say staff.

Patients travelling to Iqaluit from all over the Baffin region for medical services stay at the home. As many as 10,000 patients a year are flown in from smaller communities to receive treatment or see a doctor.

Caroline Anawak, executive director of the Pairijait Tigumivik Society which operates the boarding home, says there has been "an explosion" in the number of patients staying at the boarding home over the last year. The occupancy rate has averaged 95 per cent, ranging from a low of 84 to high of 114 per cent.

"We find that more and more people are being diagnosed, which is good; we're finding that more doctors and clinics are being held, which is good; it's just sometimes a challenge in terms of accommodating that great a number," Anawak said.

The Tammaativvik Boarding Home opened in 2010 and has 45 rooms. All but one of the rooms has two queen-size beds.

Jeannie Kigukgak from Pond Inlet says the Iqaluit medical boarding home is 'always crowded.' (CBC)

"They can accommodate two separate adults, or they can accommodate a mom with children and maybe in the other bed a completely different person," Anawak said.

"That's the way these particular rooms are designed, so we could have up to 110 in our facility." 

When the boarding home is over capacity, patients may be billeted with local residents or put in hotel rooms.

Jeannie Kigukgak from Pond Inlet spent the last week at the boarding home.

"It's always crowded here and sometimes there are not enough rooms for people coming here when there are too many people," she said.

Anawak says the facility needs more space and more money to continue providing the current level of care.

"We want to support the people who are staying here. We want them to feel welcome. We want them to eat well, sleep well, and be well treated."

No one from the Government of Nunavut was available for comment. ​