We attended a community consultation session this week so we could hear directly from members of our local Indigenous communities about their experiences with Niagara Health. These stories were difficult to hear but important for us to hear.
We are listening and learning more about the experiences of Indigenous people at Niagara Health so we can take meaningful action towards reconciliation in the health system. This is part of our commitment to make the hospital a safe, culturally welcoming space for Indigenous people that meets their healthcare needs and respects their traditions.
Some of what we heard this week reinforced actions we are taking as a result of an internal quality review we undertook earlier this year following the tragic death of an Indigenous patient in our care in December 2021. We are in ongoing contact with the family of the patient and sincerely appreciate their guidance.
Actions we have taken to date to enhance care and assist with our reconciliation work include:
- supporting San’yas Indigenous Cultural Sensitivity Training, with many staff and leaders having completed the eight-week program over the last several years;
- establishing a committee made of up staff and physicians to support a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for our workforce;
- providing cultural humility and unconscious bias training to our Human Resources Team, DEI Committee, Executive Team and Medical Advisory Committee. It is also delivered on a request basis to teams;
- planning a third-party review of our Emergency Department to deepen our understanding of the experiences of Indigenous patients and other equity-deserving groups;
- creating a new role for dedicated Indigenous Patient Navigators at Niagara Health to support Indigenous patients and families;
- creating a new role for a dedicated Social Worker in the Emergency Department to support the non-medical needs of patients in the Indigenous community and other equity-deserving groups.
We’ll continue to engage with Indigenous patients, families and organizations to understand their experiences, build trust and seek feedback on improving their care and experiences.