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Achieving Culturally Safe Engagement with Indigenous Partners

29 Mar 2023 10:18 AM | Anonymous

Image caption: Virtual What Matters to Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) Patient Partners in Culturally Safe Engagements Circle, June 17, 2021

Award category: Indigenous Engagement, IAP2 Canada Core Values Awards 2022

Source: Culturally Safe Engagement: What Matters to Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) Patient Partners

Recipient: BC Patient Safety & Quality Council

How do we know when we’ve achieved cultural safety? When both sides leave feeling content.

This is one answer shared as the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council met with Indigenous patient partners to develop resources about culturally safe patient engagement. It was co-created with Indigenous patient partners based on conversations at an event in June 2021.

The event was co-designed and co-facilitated by First Nations patient partner, the late Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Sim’oogit Ma’os, Bill Blackwater Jr., Tammy Hoefer, Director of Patient & Public Engagement and Cathy Almost, Engagement Leader. Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) patient partners were asked what mattered to them when participating in culturally safe patient engagement opportunities. Health care partners were invited to attend as witnesses to the patient partners’ stories by being compassionate and silent observers, giving attention to others without judgement and providing a space for partners to speak their truth.

It was held in celebration of International “What Matters to You?” Day in British Columbia.

When providers have a conversation about what really matters to the people they care for, it helps ensure that care is aligned with patient preferences, builds trusting relationships between patients, families and their health care providers, and advances person- and family-centred care.

Following the event, discussion notes were themed, and eight key principles emerged:

  • Awareness & Understanding
  • Learning & Education
  • Build Relationships
  • Prepare
  • Kindness & Empathy
  • Respect
  • Value
  • Listen

Themes were developed into key messages, recommendations, and actions. The actions listed come from some suggestions made by the patient partners, but mostly from the lived experience and learnings of Cathy Almost on her journey of self discovery. Cathy would like to give credit to Verna Howard, Gitxsan, Cherie Mercer, Nisga’a, Victoria English, Blackfoot, Edna Leask, Selkirk, Donna Simon, Métis, Sheila Dick, Secwepemc and Mark Matthew, Secwepemc for their generosity in sharing their knowledge about living an Indigenous life and how to engage Indigenous voices in a good way. 

Bert Azak, a Nisga’a graphic designer, contributed his artwork and designed two resources: an at-a-glance document which summarizes the principles, and a companion guide which provides further details about the conversation that took place during this event. These resources represent a moment in time when 13 patient partners gave their opinions about culturally safe patient engagement.

Read the Companion Guide

View the Pamphlet

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