Welcoming around 70 children to the Pediatric Center for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Center Saint-Jacques Roquetaillade supports patients into adulthood trying to find a balance between medicine and life in nature.
At first glance, the infirmary looks like an ordinary doctor’s office. However, on closer inspection, some details surprise. A cell phone is suspended above the auscultation table. A box labeled “Magic Box” is placed in a corner of the room. “We avoid drug treatment as much as possible,” explains Isabelle Giron, director of the Saint-Jacques Roquetaillade center in Montégut. That’s why we use all the means to distract the child from his suffering”. Bubbles, virtual reality helmet, hypnosis… “We are working with the Purpan children’s hospital for pain management”, adds Gilles Timmermans, executive assistant.
Managed by the Order of Malta since 1989, the institution welcomes around 70 children at the heart of the Pediatric Center for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (CPMPR) as well as around fifteen adults in the specialist reception center (see box). The center enables the rehabilitation of children and teenagers with motor, orthopedic, neurological or burn deficits and is known as a reference in the region.
Across from the infirmary, a room with uniform jets can treat severe burns. At the end of the corridor, behind the bay windows, young patients are working on their rehabilitation in the pool. A little further on, techno music wafted through the open door. Installed on colorful mats and surrounded by equipment, several teenagers try out the moves, accompanied by their physiotherapist.
Six physiotherapists, five occupiers, a psychologist… The rehabilitation platform is large and has several examination rooms, all equipped for a young audience, who find their schedule well organized. Between medical sessions, children are educated directly at the center. “We have a school in the field, with three teachers teaching the lessons, specifies Isabelle Giron. Each child has three hours of school a day. We want to avoid a break with the school environment.”
arts and sports
When youth have a hole in their schedule, they are free to go wherever they want within the center’s boundaries. All-inclusive playground, walk in the park or rest in their room, single or double. On each door, the patient’s name. And inside, a different urban plan according to needs. “Every time we try to recreate a universe, assures Gilles Timmermans. For example, this evening we welcome a teenager who comes from Rangueuil. That’s why we rearranged the room”. In the next room, two workers are making the bed of a two-year-old baby, who has suffered a severe burn.
Wanting to be placed “between the hospital and the home”, the center does not leave aside parents who, when logistically possible, are welcomed with their child. Many activities are also offered. A creative workshop has been installed on the first floor of the castle. Young people gather there around the octagonal table to create paintings or masks. “Last year, an artist from the Condominium accompanied the Center throughout the year, before setting up an exhibition,” says Patricia de la Barrière, departmental delegate of the Order of Malta.
Sport is also at the heart of the Saint-Jacques Centre’s proposals. The Gers Handisport committee comes once a month to Roquetaillade and offers activities. That day, three teenagers discover laser running on the athletics track. Five others, in the heart of the sports hall, are learning boccia (adapted pétanque). In the next room, a piping competition is organized. The competition is fierce and the teasing melts between the chaperones and the children. Without forgetting good manners, when a curse escaped, received from a friend: “Oh bad words.”
A specialist reception center in the heart of the Centre
Although the largest number of patients are children, the Center Saint-Jacques also houses a specialized reception centre. About fifteen adult residents with multiple disabilities live there, in a separate building, but can also participate in the activities offered to younger patients. On the first floor of this MAS there is a common room, decorated with the colors of the French team during this World Cup, a wellness room and a creative workshop. This afternoon one of the residents with a brush in hand is working on the Christmas decorations. On the upper floor, bedrooms and a kitchen adapted so that residents can participate in household chores.