Saskatoon – First Nations and Métis patients and their families now have better access to culturally relevant care with the expansion of the First Nations and Métis Health Service to Royal University Hospital (RUH). For the past two years, the service has been operating out of St. Paul's Hospital (SPH). Since opening at RUH, the service has seen 993 in-hospital and walk-in patients, in addition to the 2,615 seen at SPH. At both hospitals, the service is allowing the Region to provide more culturally appropriate care to First Nations and Métis patients and their families by:
providing translation and interpretation services in Cree or Dene;
connecting patients and families with internal support, such as social workers and pharmacists, to help them better understand their treatment;
connecting patients and families with external services (e.g., Health Canada, social services and other community-based resources) to assist them with meals, accommodation, medical supplies and transportation, and most importantly,
- ensuring that patients' spiritual and cultural needs are met by connecting them with Elders, allowing them to engage in traditional ceremonies and advocating for their rights to utilize traditional methods and medicines.
"The First Nations and Métis Health Service is an essential service that is allowing the Region to better meet the healthcare needs of all our patients in a safe, respectful and caring manner," says Dan Florizone, President and CEO, Saskatoon Health Region. "Its expansion to Royal University Hospital is an opportunity for us to build on the successes and lessons learned from St. Paul's Hospital."
Over 40 per cent of the province's Northern residents, many of whom are First Nations or Métis, access health care from Saskatoon Health Region. When seeking care, many of these residents encounter unique challenges, such as travelling long distances from home through difficult road conditions; not speaking English as a first language; lack of mental, emotional and spiritual support when family members are unable to accompany them to hospital; and lack of medical equipment in their home communities upon discharge.
"I congratulate Saskatoon Health Region on providing culturally appropriate and inclusive services that address the unique needs of First Nations and Métis patients and their families," says Health Minister Dustin Duncan.
Both units at RUH and SPH have been made possible because of a generous donation and three-year commitment in funding support from Royal University Hospital Foundation and its donors.
"Our Foundation's support of $600,000 from donors for the First Nations and Métis Health Service and their service teams within Saskatoon Health Region, will provide culturally appropriate health care for patients and their families when they arrive at our hospitals with a long-term goal of ultimately improving health outcomes," says Dr. Paul Babyn, Vice Chair of the RUH Foundation Board of Directors.
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