In BC, if you are helping to care for an Indigenous person (First Nation, Metis, Inuit) this 64 page guide Aboriginal Cultural Practices can serve as a beginners introduction on care of Indigenous patients. Created by Vancouver Coastal Health, most information is applicable to all BC.
BC Elders’ Guide (2014)
The Ministry of Health and the First Nations Health (FNH) Authority worked together to produce this health and lifestyle resource. It is based on the BC Seniors’ Guide but designed for First Nations and Aboriginal Elders. The BC Elders’ Guide provides information on provincial and federal programs and community and local resources, with sections on health, lifestyle, housing, transportation, finances, benefits, safety and security, and other services. It acknowledges and respects the traditional ways of Elders. The guide also addresses the importance of nurturing spirit through being engaged in community life and a reminder to keep tobacco use ceremonial. It not only provides a wealth of useful information, but also emphasizes and incorporates the richness of the cultural history of B.C. First Nations and Aboriginal Elders. The guide was developed to ensure that Elders, their families and caregivers have access to information about the programs, services and resources that are essential to their health and wellness. To download a pdf of the guide, please visit: www.fnha.ca/eldersguide , for a print copy, contact the First Nations Health Authority at 604-693-6500 or toll free 1-866-913-0033.
If you or the person you are caring for has been affected by Residential Schools these are some important resources:
Indian Residential School Survivors Society Support Line 1.866.925.4419 (Open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week),
Indian and Residential School Mental Health Support Program toll free: 1.877.477.0775 Fax: 1.604.666.6458
Indian Residential School Resolution Health Support Program (IRS RHSP) Fax: (604) 658-2833
END OF LIFE / DEATH & DYING
Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Assn (CHPCA) A Model to Guide Hospice Palliative Care: Based on National Principles and Norms of Practice (2002) defines “Informal Caregivers” as caregivers who are “not members of an organization. They have no formal training, and are not accountable to standards of conduct or practice. They may be family members or friends.” http://www.chpca.net/family-caregivers.aspx Caregiving can be difficult. The following resources may help:
Cultural Practices Around Illness and Death
This 27 minute video provides information about cultural practices around illness and death from First Nations speakers from the Haisla, Nisga’a, Tsimshian, Gitxsan and Tahltan Nations near Terrace and Kitimat. https://indigenoushealthnh.ca/resources/local-cultural-resources
Gitxsan Cultural Practices with births, near death and upon the death of a Gitxsan person
This 8 page booklet provides information about Gitxsan cultural practices with births, near death, and upon the death of a Gitxsan person. It includes tips on how to approach these important life transitions for Gitxsan community members. This document was developed by the Terrace/Kitimat and area Aboriginal Health Improvement Committee (AHIC) 2015 https://indigenoushealthnh.ca/resources/local-cultural-resources
Quality palliative care helps people honour their culture, traditions and spirituality. Yet, there are few cultural supports for people living with advanced illness and fewer still for the health providers caring for them. Indigenous people can find culturally appropriate pamphlets like “Honoring Wishes”, “Grief and Letting Go”, “What is Palliative Care”, “Care at Home and Away”, “What to Expect”, and more. http://livingmyculture.ca/culture/
To help improve quality of life and care that is culturally safe and inclusive, Canadian Virtual Hospice and a team of researchers, health providers, patients and families developed LivingMyCulture.ca http://virtualhospice.ca/en_US/Main+Site+Navigation/Home.aspx
FIRST NATIONS HEALTH AUTHORITY
The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is a provincial health authority that plans, designs, manages, and funds the delivery of First Nations health programs and services in BC, including the First Nations Health Benefits program.
Information on the Health Benefits Program, including eligibility, MSP, Counselling – Indian Residential School program, Counselling – Short-term Crisis Intervention,Dental, Medical Supplies & Equipment (Wheelchair, glucose test strips, ostomy supplies, etc.), Medical Transportation, Mental Health, Pharmacy, Vision Care, is available on the FNHA website http://www.fnha.ca/benefits or call the General Questions/Benefits Support Representative toll free: 1.855.550.5454 or email HealthBenefits@fnha.ca
FOOD / GROCERIES / NUTRITION
Across Canada, Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide – First Nations, Inuit and Métis Moose stew? Char? Bannock? For the first time, a national food guide has been created which reflects the values, traditions and food choices of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The Guide has also been translated into Inuktitut, Ojibwe, Plains Cree, and Woods Cree.
HEALTH – DIABETES
The National Aboriginal Diabetes Association’s mission is to lead the promotion of healthy environments to prevent and manage diabetes by working together with people, communities and organizations. If you are caring for someone with diabetes, visit www.nada.ca email email@example.com or call toll free: 1-877-232-NADA (6232)
FRASER HEALTH AREA RESOURCES FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
Fraser Health covers Burnaby to Hope to Boston Bar. Specifically: Abbotsford, Agassiz, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Delta, District of Kent, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, South Surrey, Surrey, and White Rock. View map.
Aboriginal Patient Navigators (APNs) in Fraser Health support patients in the hospital and community. The Aboriginal Patient Navigators (APNs) connect with Aboriginal patients and family members, health care professionals, and other service providers to make sure Aboriginal patients receive culturally safe, appropriate, and timely care, whether in hospital or community.
Aboriginal Health Liaisons represent part of the APNs team, and provide support, advocacy, and health education to Aboriginal clients and their families in hospital and community settings.
Aboriginal Mental Health Liaisons, who provide assessment, referral, counseling support services, and liaise with other mental health workers in hospital and community, are also part of the APNs team.
From connecting patients to community services, assisting and educating health professionals in caring for Aboriginal clients, to helping patients understand and navigate the health care system; APNs provide invaluable support and services to Fraser Health’s Aboriginal patient population.
In Fraser Health, Aboriginal health nurse practitioners provide safe, holistic and accessible primary care for Aboriginal people of all ages. Two nurse practitioner positions have been created to provide culturally appropriate primary care to Aboriginal people.
One serves the Seabird Island and neighboring First Nations communities, while the other serves an urban Aboriginal community at Kla-how-eya in Surrey.
The Primary Health Clinic located in Surrey at the Kla-how-eya Healing Place provides culturally safe and holistic primary health care services for urban Aboriginal clients without regular primary care providers, or for those who use walk-in clinics or emergency departments for primary care needs.
For more information regarding Aboriginal Health services provided by Fraser Health, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fraser Canyon Hospital, Sacred Space
As the tobacco burns and smoke rises, carrying prayers to the Spirit World, the sweet smell of cedar, sage and sweet grass fill the room. The sound of water trickling from the free standing waterfall calms the spirit, as the heat from the fireplace warms the soul. This is Fraser Health’s Sacred Space at Fraser Canyon Hospital. The first of its kind in Fraser Health, the Sacred Space is an indoor area for smudging and pipe ceremonies, making it easier for First Nations populations to observe important parts of the traditional Aboriginal healing journey. With one of the most diverse Aboriginal populations in the province, Fraser Health is committed to providing culturally sensitive care to members of 32 First Nations communities from Burnaby to Boston Bar. The space has been fitted with a ventilation system to allow for smoke from the burning of various medicine plants in an abalone shell to escape, and are wafted using an eagle feather during ceremonies. This ritual cleansing is meant to lift negative energy, feelings, and emotions away; leaving the mind, body and spirit feeling healed, and personal energy is balanced. Chawathil First Nation Chief, Rhoda Peters welcomed the Sacred Space to Fraser Canyon Hospital “as it offers strength to families and loved ones during difficult times.” Culturally sensitive care for Aboriginal populations. Also housing a wooden alter and seating, the Sacred Space is open to people of all faiths; it is intended to address the spiritual needs of all patients, clients, families, staff and volunteers at Fraser Canyon Hospital, in the traditional territory of Chawathil First Nations as well as all residents in the area.
INTERIOR HEALTH AREA RESOURCES FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
Covers the East Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary, Okanagan and Thompson Cariboo Shuswap areas. Specifically: 100 Mile House, Anahim Lake, Armstrong, Aschroft, Barriere, Canal Flats, Castelgar, Chase, Clearwater, Clinton, Coldstream, Cranbrook, Crawford Bay, Creston, Elkford, Enderby, Fernie, Golden, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Invermere, Kamloops, Kaslo, Kelowna, Keremeos, Kimberley, Lillooet, Logan Lake, Lumby, Lytton, Merritt, Midway, Montrose, Nakusp, Nelson, New Denver, Oliver, Osoyoos, Peachland, Penticton, Princeton, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Rutland, Salmo, Salmon Arm, Shuswap, Sicamous, Silverton, South Cariboo, South Similkameen, Sparwood, Spallumcheen, Summerland, Tatla Lake, Trail, Vernon, Westbank, West Kelowna, Williams Lake, Windemere. Interior Health has 54 First Nations communities residing in our region including: Secwepemc, Southern Carrier, Okanagan, Ktunaxa Kinbasket, Nlakapamux, Stl’atl’imx, and Ts’ilhqotin. In the region there are 44,900 Aboriginal people, which is about 6.3% of the region’s population.
There are 16,200 self identifying Métis people in the IH region representing 36% of the Aboriginal population of IH, with over 2,000 of those being registered Métis Citizens under the Métis Nation of BC and approximately another 2,000 self identifying Métis individual who also are members of the various Metis Chartered Community within IH.
The majority of the Aboriginal and Métis population resides in the West region (51%) followed by the Central region (31%), and then the East region (18%).
Aboriginal Patient Navigators (APN) assist Aboriginal patients in the Interior Health area with access to community services that enhance continuity of care and efficient use of resources. APNs support services will assist or help with: Understanding the hospital care system; Spiritual connection; Discharge planning; Community and hospital linkages; and Promoting access to community services.
APN’s provide linkage within the local health areas and First Nation communities within the Interior Health region. The APN workers provide support to Interior Health Aboriginal patients, caregivers, and their families while in the health-care system.
The APN collaborate with and assist health-care providers in early identification and assessment of patient needs. They participate in the discharge planning process to facilitate the timely discharge of patients to support patient care and independence.
For both the Aboriginal patient and health-care provider, the APN will be a resource to assist in providing culturally sensitive health care. Find out where the APN service is offered or contact an Aboriginal Patient Navigator.
For more information regarding Aboriginal Health services provided by Interior Health, https://www.interiorhealth.ca/YourHealth/AboriginalHealth/Pages/default.aspx
ISLAND HEALTH (IH) AREA RESOURCES (FORMERLY VANCOUVER ISLAND HEALTH) FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
This area covers: Vancouver Island, the islands of the Georgia Strait, and in the mainland communities north of Powell River and south of Rivers Inlet. Specifically the areas of: Alberni, Campbell River, Courtney, Cowichan, Greater Victoria, Gulf Islands, Lake Cowichan, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Qualicum, Saanich, Sooke, Vancouver Island North, Vancouver Island West.
Island Health provides Aboriginal Health Clinics on Central, North & South Island, for those who wish to see an Aboriginal Health professional about their health concerns. For information and a clinics list: http://www.viha.ca/aboriginal_health/clinics.htm
NORTHERN HEALTH AREA RESOURCES FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
Covers Atlin, Burns Lake, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Dease Lake, Fort Babine, Fort Nelson, Fort St. James, Fort St. John, Fraser Lake, Granisle, Haida Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands), Hazelton, Houston, Hudson’s Hope, Kitimat, Mackenzie, Masset, McBride, Nechako, Nisga’a, Peace River, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Queen Charlotte City, Quesnel, Smithers, Snow Country, Stewart, Stikine, Tellegraph Creek, Terrace, Tumbler Ridge, Upper Skeena, Valemount, Vanderhood, Village of Queen Charlotte.
Many Indigenous people and communities in northern BC encounter barriers to accessing services that are related to living in rural and remote communities. In addition, there are challenges to continuity of care for people accessing care in Northern Health facilities and then returning to home communities. Indigenous Health partners with Northern Health programs, communities, and the First Nations Health Authority on a number of levels to enhance access to needed services and to improve continuity of care. An important place this work is done is at Aboriginal Health Improvement Committees. In addition, 10 Aboriginal Patient Liaisons work at Northern Health facilities across northern BC to facilitate access to quality, culturally safe care for Indigenous people. From: https://indigenoushealthnh.ca/what-we-do
Aboriginal Patient Liaisons (APLs) assist Aboriginal patients and their families in the Northern Health Area to access high quality, culturally safe health care services. APLs are an important part of the health care team and can assist with:
· Arrange for translation services
· Help patients understand health care processes, procedures and terminology
· Help to ensure admission and discharge planning goes according to patient needs
· Advanced Health Care Planning
· Facilitate communication and cultural understanding between patient and care providers
· Connect patient to end of life support
· Coordinate spiritual / cultural advisors
· Support and comfort family and friends
· Referrals within Northern Health and to community agencies
· Help link patients to non-insured health benefits
· Transition to and within long-term care
Speak with a health care provider for a referral to the Aboriginal Patient Liaison program or visit https://indigenoushealthnh.ca/initiatives/APLs
VANCOUVER COASTAL HEALTH (VCH) AREA RESOURCES FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
This area covers Vancouver, Richmond, The North Shore and Coast Garibaldi, Sea-to-Sky Highway, Sunshine Coast, Bella Bella, Bella Coola, the Central Coast and the surrounding areas. Specifically: Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Bowen Island, Britannia Beach, Brackendale, Coast Garibaldi, Darcy, Earl’s Cover, Egmont, Garden Bay, Gilles Bay, Gibsons, Halfmoon Bay, Lions Bay, Madeira Park, Mount Currie, North Vancouver, Pemberton, Pender Harbour, Port Mellon, Powell River, Richmond, Roberts Creek, Sechelt, Secret Cover, Squamish, and Whistler.
Aboriginal Patient Navigator Program helps First Nations and Aboriginal people access health services. It offers practical support to Aboriginal persons utilizing Vancouver Coastal Health services through hospital liaison and referral processes. The purpose is to provide a communication linkage between the patient, family, community and health care provider, assisting the care team with health care and discharge planning. The goal is to improve access and ensure the Aboriginal patients’ health care experience is culturally safe and inclusive. It aims to ensure the Aboriginal patient understands the hospital cultural/processes and health care staff understand the unique needs of the Aboriginal patient. To get in touch with a Vancouver Coastal Health Aboriginal Patient Navigator: 1 (877) 875-1131 toll-free, or email: email@example.com
In Vancouver, the Aboriginal Wellness Program (A.W.P.) develops and delivers culturally safe mental wellness and addiction programs for First Nations and Aboriginal people residing within the Lower Mainland including:
Adult counselling (for a variety of issues, such as trauma, residential school, grief & loss, depression, anxiety and addiction)
Support groups (you can share stories, and learn from each other’s challenges, strengths, and strategies. Throughout the year they host drop-in support groups, psycho-educational workshops, therapy groups and groups based on traditional teachings
Cultural support & teachings is holistic, client centered and based on building on the client’s current strengths. Elders and Traditional Practitioners are brought in for specific purposes based on client’s needs and cultural support is tailored to each person’s cultural and spiritual beliefs. 604-675-2551, firstname.lastname@example.org
Also in Vancouver, the Lu’ma Medical Centre http://lnhs.ca/luma-medical-centre/ provides culturally safe healthcare with First Nation physicians. 604-558-8822
The Lu’ma Housing Society Aboriginal Patients’ Lodge (We believe in your ability to heal) in Vancouver has furnished apartments for you to feel comfortable, bring your family, enjoy cooking and focus on the healing path. They create the conditions that are necessary in an accommodation to improve health outcomes. The first of its kind in BC, the lodge serve over 400 guests per year coming to Vancouver from communities across the province for surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, pregnancy, transplant operation, diagnostic tests, and appointments. Patient guests range in age from infants to elders. Our Lodge is the top choice for long term patients who need to cook for their special diet and heal during treatment. http://lnhs.ca/aboriginal-health-wellness/ 604-707-9191
Throughout Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), Sacred Spaces & Gathering Places booklet outlines the sacred spaces and places for Aboriginal patients and their families to gather while accessing services in VCH. VCH recognizes the importance for many Aboriginal people to gather around loved ones in times of illness, healing and while receiving care. Comfortable spaces are provided within each facility and where possible spaces are also available for spiritual and cultural healing practices. Sacred spaces and gathering places are listed for each VCH facility. Information includes smudging, where you can find sacred space to prepare a body as well as for necessary prayers and ceremony, food, and more.
While under the care of Vancouver Coastal Health, if you have, questions, concerns and complaints about your health care, there is an Aboriginal Health Complaints Process; learn more at http://www.vch.ca/your-care/aboriginal-health. Remember too that the Aboriginal Patient Navigator Program can help: 1-877-875-1131 toll-free, or email email@example.com