Holistic hospital services and dedicated community supports help improve access to care, build and nurture relationships with local communities and enhance cultural safety.
Yukon Hospitals’ First Nations Health Programs is improving access to culturally safe and sensitive care in Dawson City and Watson Lake by introducing highly trained First Nations Community Support Workers to coordinate services in each community hospital.
Community Support Workers help coordinate individual care planning, patient and family support, cultural programs such as traditional food and medicine, Elder assistance and language supports, and advocacy to help First Nations and community members navigate the health system.
“We want our hospitals to be positive, accessible healing environments where First Nations clients have access to the services and supports they need as individuals and communities,” says Laura Salmon, Director, First Nations Health Programs. “These supports include assisting patients throughout their care journey, directly advocating on their behalf, helping them navigate the health system, and connecting them with health partners and other providers in their circle of care here and outside the Yukon.”
First Nations Health Programs welcomed Amanda Brown to Watson Lake Community Hospital in February and Allison Kormendy to Dawson City Community Hospital at the end of April. Both have extensive knowledge and experience in First Nations health care.
With Amanda and Allison’s support, Yukon’s community hospitals will strengthen partnerships with First Nations and other health care providers, including Home Care, Continuing Care, Respite Care, and Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services to support First Nations patients accessing care. They will also provide cultural education to patients, hospital staff and community members through events and dedicated First Nations healing spaces.
“By building on the model of care and services in Whitehorse, we wanted to expand cultural programming in Dawson City and Watson Lake,” says Judy Gingell, Yukon Hospital Corporation Trustee and Chair of the First Nations Health Committee. “Consulting directly with First Nations in both communities was an important part of this as they helped shape the roles and responsibilities of the support workers and assisted with the recruitment process.”
Director, First Nations Health Programs