Did you know that our sister organization, the Jerome Lejeune Institute in France, recently opened a new medical center? The following post is adapted from an article published in French in Familie Chretieene about the opening of its medical center in Nantes.
On January 3, the Jerome Lejeune Institute’s Nantes medical center opened its doors for this first time, offering specialized care to individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. During the hour-long appointments, doctors will interview the patient or their caregiver, evaluating multiple aspects of the patient’s life (such as their medical history and current state of health), in order to provide the best possible assistance. All appointments are offered free of charge, thanks to the generosity of faithful Jerome Lejeune Institute donors.
The doctors at the Nantes center also research how aging affects those with intellectual disabilities – particularly, whether any new difficulties patients experience are linked to comorbidities often found in those with genetic disorders, or if they’re the result of pathological aging. To gain a clear understanding of this relationship, doctors must be able to document patients’ lives and health on a regular basis, which is why patients are strongly encouraged to book follow-up appointments. This also ensures they receive the best care possible as they age.
The team at Nantes is full of dedicated, driven medical practitioners who are excited to help improve the lives of those within the Down syndrome community. William Atkas, one of the neuropsychologists at the new center, shared about his decision to join the team:
“I was won over by the idea of creating something new… I felt that I could make a useful and complementary contribution to this consultation, with my skills as a neuropsychologist and my experience of geriatrics, placed at the service of a speciﬁc subject, that of aging in connection with disability.”
According to caregivers, the center is already making a difference. Josette Launay, the mother of a male patient who has attended consultations at both the Paris and Nantes centers recently shared:
“We are really satisfied with this [Nantes] center. It is valuable to know that we can count on this institute to help us cope with the aging of our son… We had done a lot of medical examinations. But it was at the Lejeune Institute that we were told he had a blocked ear. From the moment they discovered this problem, his life changed!”
While currently the Nantes medical center is only open to individuals over 35, the Jerome Lejeune Institute plans to expand it later this year to serve those aged 18-35, with the goal of serving children by spring of 2023.