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Mental exhaustion, weariness, sleep deprivation, difficulties with siblings, lack of help, shortage of care options… All of those words cannot begin to describe the life of parents of polyimpaired children.

The Approach

Centre Philou focuses on prevention to help families reduce the tensions associated with caring for a polyimpaired child. Centre Philou doesn’t just look after children for a few days, it welcomes them into a home designed for them, where they are cherished, loved and understood. or parents, Centre Philou is a place of trust so they can recharge their batteries.

Composed of meticulous team leaders, dynamic and creative educators as well as thoroughly trained volunteers, the primary quality of the Respite personnel is their respect for the children and young adults, as well as their patience, devotion, understanding, energy, inventiveness and positive outlook.

Although Respite is mainly considered as a service “for parents” to recuperate, the children and young adults benefit fromactivities during their stay, combining developmental and global motor stimulation, stretching, adapted games, animation and outings. For each child attending the Respite service, we draw up personalized life habits profiles and prepare art, computer games and music activities according to their sensory preferences.

Respite is:

  • A moment for the young person to share with people who are like him or her;
  • An individualized schedule adapted to the differences and rhythms of each child;
  • Focused on the well-being of children, caring and socialization;
  • A ratio of 2 educators to 3 children, to ensure that each child receives the attention and support he or she needs;
  • Numerous activities such as music, Special Yoga™, computer skills and sensory gardening;
  • The opportunity to take a moment to recharge, take a vacation or just take a break for a while, knowing that your child is well cared for and receives all the attention and love they need.


Eligibility criteria

Any child aged 0 to 29, resident of Quebec, polyimpaired and whose care can be delegated. Centre Philou accepts children with gastrostomy, epilepsy, sleep disorders as well as those requiring special care.

Eligibility is subject to a visit and assessment by Centre Philou.

Admission procedure

1. Apply for admission to Centre Philou:
• Make an appointment with Sophie Ouellette, Director of Family Experience, to visit Centre Philou with your child;
• Once the visit is over, an admission file must be completed on site.

2. Register on the waiting list


Stays of a minimum of 24 hours up to 2 weeks, depending on availability.


A fee of $130 per night applies to parents. A service agreement is also possible with rehabilitation centers to offer Respite services to their patients.


Camille Mondou is the Respite Manager Her main responsibilities include day-to-day management of the Respite program, seasonal planning of Respite stays and Respite notes.

Parents can contact her for any changes to Respite dates, arrival and departure times, as well as changes to their children’s files.

Email: [email protected]

Mélinda Pierre-Louis  is the Respite field supervisor. 

The Philou+

The Philou + are present on every shift. They ensure compliance with rules, coach and train educators, and help with emergency response.

Philoupettes and Philoupets

33 Philoupettes and Philoupets work in the Respite program, spending day, evening and night with the children.

To be a Philoupette or Philoupet, you need…

Eight alert, sparkling eyes. 2 eyes to check on care schedules, 4 others to ensure the children’s safety and finally, 2 others to make sure you never miss the smiles of these little heroes.

Six arms. 2 for preparing medicines and feedings, 2 others for changing diapers and 2 last ones for doing great activities!

An unbreakable backbone. Whether it’s for transfers, giving a bath or pushing a wheelchair, Philoupettes and Philoupets definitely have the backbone of a robot.

Four legs. 2 to do all the caring and 2 to turn the dining room into a dance floor!

A generous smile that never sleeps. Yes, at Centre Philou, the Philoupettes and Philoupets are there from sunrise, even on a Saturday morning! Some of them also spend the night looking after the precious little ones. So it’s essential to have a smile that can convince sleep to go elsewhere.

The most devoted of hearts Working at Centre Philou means accompanying children through good times and bad. At all times, the Philoupettes and Philoupets give the best of themselves to offer the most emphatic and sincere support.


The bedrooms

Each child attending the Respite service has his or her own individual room, equipped with an adapted bed with a side panel, rails for mounting a ceiling lift, a cupboard for storing personal belongings,and its own heating system to adapt the room temperature to the child’s needs.

What’s more, each room is equipped with a camera to monitor the child during the night, in addition to frequent rounds by the night team to keep an eye on the children.

The bathrooms

Centre Philou has two fully adapted bathrooms. These are equipped with a bathtub, a ceiling lift and a set of equipment adapted to seat the child comfortably in the bath.

If required, there is also an adapted shower with a bath chair to ensure the child’s safety.

The Philoupets and Philoupettes rooms

Centre Philou welcomes children and young adults whose care can be delegated. So, throughout the stay, the Philoupets and Philoupettes prepare medications and feedings according to the individual schedules of each child, and diligently take notes which are added to each kid’s file.

Stimulation rooms

During their stay, children can take advantage of Centre Philou’s many stimulation rooms. These include a black room and a Snoezelen room.

The black room is a place where everything is black. Black lights illuminate what is fluorescent. This allows us to stimulate one sense at a time, without distractions. It’s an ideal place to encourage young people to focus their gaze on the gesture, object or task at hand, thus fostering attention and concentration. It features a light table, light objects, switch-activated games and much more.

The Snoezelen room is a place of relaxation and exploration, where emotional well-being and pleasure are fostered. The Snoezelen approach encourages the awakening of polyimpaired people by offering a range of sensory, auditory and olfactory activities. Features include a bubble column, an interactive projector, fiber optics and a temperature-adjustable water mattress.


In action

Family guidance

Our support extends to the whole family, from the polyimpaired child to the parents, siblings and grandparents. All the members of a family surrounding a polyimpaired child have a different vision of their reality and of the child. They also have different, but equally important, needs. We want to accompany families in their lives, sharing with them the good days, the victories, the uncertainties, the incomprehension, as well as the anger, so as to help them improve their daily lives.

A psychoeducator is always available to listen to all family members, guide them and answer their questions. This service is entirely free of charge for families of children who use the Centre’s services.

Sophie Ouellette is the Director of Family Experience for all families using Centre Philou services.

Trained as a psychoeducator, she offers support in various areas related to the challenges of polyimpairment:

  • Finding the right resources to deal with daily or specific challenges;
  • Planning for emergency Respite;
  • Leveraging Philou’s experience to find solutions to different issues families may encounter with their children;
  • Facilitating contacts between families;
  • Organizing special activities such as parent-child yoga;
  • Welcoming new families;
  • Establishing relationships with partners of Centre Philou.

Email: [email protected]


Au nom des familles et de leurs enfants, au nom de de toute l’équipe qui travaille avec amour et ardeur au Centre Philou, nous vous remercions du fond du coeur de croire en nous, de nous donner le courage et l’énergie de continuer à grandir.


On behalf of the families and their children, on behalf of all the team members who work with love and ardor at Centre Philou, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for believing in us, for giving us the courage and energy to continue to grow.