Niagara Health is listening and learning more about the healthcare experiences of Indigenous Peoples to take meaningful action.
Niagara Health (NH) is beginning an external assessment of the Emergency Department (ED) in an effort to improve patient care and experiences for Indigenous Peoples. Led by an independent panel of five external experts, the group will review Niagara Health’s ED and Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) at the St. Catharines Site with the understanding that findings will be applied across our three EDs and all NH sites.
Niagara Health’s goal is to learn, offer healing, and mobilize change to improve the quality and safety of care for Indigenous patients. This is part of our commitment to make the hospital a safe, and culturally welcoming space for Indigenous Peoples that meets their healthcare needs and respects their traditions.
The independent ED Assessment follows the tragic death of Heather Winterstein, an Indigenous patient in our care in December 2021. This ED Assessment is done in Heather’s memory.
As part of the assessment, the Panel will be seeking input from Indigenous patients and families, organizations, community services, and healthcare partners to understand experiences and assess opportunities for improvement. Our ED and PERT teams will also have the opportunity to share their perspectives. The Panel will listen and examine all information collected and provide recommendations to Niagara Health to improve the care and experiences of patients, families and communities.
The independent ED Assessment Panel is composed of five external leaders with a unique blend of expertise in emergency department and clinical operations, governance and management, employee engagement and patient care, and knowledge and practise of Indigenous culture and traditional healing.
The ED Assessment Panel members include:
We are grateful to Jill Shimizu-Wilson, who has guided this work in her role as an Indigenous Advisor at Niagara Health. Jill will continue to support the work of the Panel by leading the engagement with the Indigenous community to understand experiences and identify opportunities for improvement.
Click here to read the ED Assessment Panel biographies.
The ED Assessment Panel will listen and examine all information collected and provide recommendations to Niagara Health to improve the care and experiences of patients, families and communities. The Assessment will conclude in mid-2023 with a public report of findings and recommendations to help support a high-performing Emergency Department that provides quality care for Indigenous Peoples, extending sensitivity to their cultural needs.
You can also find more information on Indigenous Health Services and Reconciliation at Niagara Health here.
The ED Assessment Panel invites you to provide feedback to help us improve your care and experience in our Emergency Department:
We acknowledge that sharing your stories may be triggering and resurface trauma. We encourage you to reach out for support. You can find a list of Indigenous Wellness Resources here.
If you are a patient or family member and have a concern about your current care, please direct your comments to Patient Relations. They can assist you in resolving any dissatisfaction you or your loved one may have with the manner in which you were treated.