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The CIRCUIT Program, a « plus » for the health of young people

July 28, 2022
By Najia Yakob, CCT, CHUM and Dr. Mélanie Henderson, CHUSJ


Young girl in a playground
CIRCUIT promotes active lifestyle habits among youth aged 5 to 18.

The Pediatric Intervention Center for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation for the whole family « Centre d’intervention en prévention et réadaptation cardiovasculaires pour toute la famille (CIRCUIT) » was established at the Sainte-Justine UHC in 2010. Its mission is to accompany and provide tools to young people aged 5 to 18 with cardiovascular risk factors, including obesity, in order to improve their health. To do so, it aims to change the lifestyle behaviors of young people in areas such as physical activity, diet and sedentary lifestyle.

The interventions offered at CIRCUIT involve physical assessments and individual follow-ups by a kinesiologist as well as workshops led by a nutritionist and a psychoeducator. These interventions have proven effective in improving several health indicators such as body mass index, blood pressure and aerobic fitness.

Since its inception, the Sainte-Justine UHC CIRCUIT program has welcomed young people and parents from across the province. Many families travel long distances to benefit from the services offered. When the COVID-19 pandemic occurred in 2020, the CIRCUIT program’s interventions were temporarily suspended and some adjustments were made to adapt the service offer to the sanitary situation as well as to avoid the travel burden for families.

Sustaining the program thanks to telehealth

The desire to make the program more accessible was supported by a pilot project funded by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) and led to its deployment in other regions. This desire is in line with the ongoing effort to offer early and effective interventions to the targeted clientele. Two partner sites are currently involved in this CIRCUIT+ deployment project: Pierre-Le Gardeur Hospital (CISSS of Lanaudière) and Rimouski Regional Hospital (CISSS of Bas Saint-Laurent). These two sites benefit from the guidance and support of the Sainte-Justine UHC CIRCUIT team through the telehealth modality. The Microsoft Teams application was chosen as the reference technological tool for training the team partners and for sharing knowledge and expertise among the professionals involved.

In interacting with the clientele, the technological application is also used to carry out individual virtual consultations with the family, as well as virtual group workshops with the young people and the parents. Based on the initial findings, the telehealth modality is a great facilitator to encourage families’ adherence to the program in its new form. Follow-up measures are in place to monitor the performance of the interventions in terms of family and professional satisfaction, as well as changes in clinical results. These efforts are made to optimize interventions and promote the health and longevity of the program. In addition, the CIRCUIT+ program deployment strategy, initially in the two partner sites mentioned includes assessing the feasibility of expanding the service to the entire province.

While the use of technology greatly increases accessibility to the program, the human factor remains the main driver in ensuring high quality service to clients. With this in mind, the newly launched CIRCUIT+ relies on the contribution of competent and dedicated people, including health professionals, managers, partner families, telehealth specialists from the institutions involved and from the CHUM Telehealth Coordination Centre, as well as other essential collaborators.

To learn more about the CIRCUIT+ program, visit the Sun Life Financial CIRCUIT web portal. Young people, families and health professionals will find free and exclusive content on a variety of topics such as sleep, physical activity, nutrition (even recipes!), use of screens and wellness.

Are you a healthcare professional interested in referring a patient to the CIRCUIT program? Visit the Nous joindre (Contact Us) Page of the CIRCUIT web portal.

Last update: August 25, 2022