• John Jantak

New SAMA service will help transport mobility-restricted clients to their medical appointments


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Élisabeth Legault, Coordinator for the SAMA project provided by L’Actuel, said the new volunteer transportation service will help to fill an important void in the region when it comes to transporting people with little to no autonomy to their medical appointments.

A new affordable service to help the elderly and people with mobility issues by providing them with specialized personal assistance to help them attend medical appointments was launched by L’Actuel-Centre d’action bénévole. The announcement was made during a press conference at the L’Actuel headquarters in Vaudreuil-Dorion last Thursday, September 24.

The specialized service is called SAMA (Service d’accompagnement à la mobilité et à l’autonomie) and is geared specifically towards people who have limited autonomy and mobility due to physical or cognitive difficulties. Anyone within the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region who is afflicted with a mobility issue can register for the service.

After an application is made, a representative from SAMA will make a personal visit to an applicant’s place of residence to determine the scope of the disability in order to determine whether a person is confined a wheelchair or has limited mobility but requires personal assistance.

The visit also helps to determine whether the applicant lives in a house or apartment, and what specialized services are needed in order to transport the person safely to their medical appointments. The outside area surrounding an applicant’s residence is also evaluated to determine whether there are any obstacles present that could impede transporting a client safely.

Élisabeth Legault, Coordinator for the SAMA project and other services provided by L’Actuel, said the new service helps to fill an important void in the region when it comes to transporting people with limited autonomy and is pleased that the new service is finally up and running.

“It’s a great feeling,” Legault told Your Local Journal. “I was very anxious for the project to be completed. It’s an excellent project and we need a service like this for our population. There was a lot of coordinating to do so we haven’t been able to promote it yet. I hope that in the weeks to come, more people become aware of it.”

Volunteers who are interested in providing their personal vehicles to accompany SAMA clients and staff are encouraged to register their names and availability with the organization. Training will be provided.

Jamie Nicholls, the NDP incumbent for Vaudreuil-Soulanges who attended the launch of the SAMA project, said L’Actuel is providing a much-needed service for an important segment of the population who have to deal with mobility issues.

“This is a service whose time has come and will continue to grow as the population ages,” said Nicholls. “I’m here to promote services that are important in our region. I think that having the presence of any elected officials who can come and get the word out that this service now exists is a good thing and that’s why I’m here today. It’s about caring for the disadvantaged and lending a helping hand to those who need it.”

Funding for the SAMA project was provided by the CRÉ Vallée-du-Haut-Saint-Laurent who contributed just over $76,000 and the MRC Vaudreuil-Soulanges which donated $6,000. The MRC was also instrumental in meeting with various community organizations including L’Actuel, CRÉ and the CSSS de Vaudreuil-Soulanges to help coordinate the new transportation service.

To register for the SAMA service, to volunteer as a driver with a vehicle, or for more information, call (438) 403-SAMA (7262).

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