Three people standing on a blanket.

Each contact, from the first click online to in-facility patient care, contributes to the experience of Indigenous patients, with communications and staff cultural competency playing crucial roles. 

The Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) team continues to teach the ICS Hummingbird education program, providing it to our staff, medical staff and frontline workers. The Hummingbird program is the first of four levels of the ICS curriculum, consisting of four hours of online study and six hours of intensive in-person training. Last year, the ICS team and the Indigenous Health Research team worked closely with the VGH Emergency Department to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of the Hummingbird program, which was provided to the majority of nurses, registration clerks and allied health professionals. Preliminary results demonstrate an improvement in understanding, attitudes and behaviours of our care providers. 

In 2022, we expanded accessibility to the online self-study module of the Hummingbird program, resulting in more than 5,000 VCH employees having completed this training and this number continues to grow. Through ICS training, we believe that we are enhancing the cultural competency of our care providers and enabling us to improve care and outcomes for Indigenous patients and families. 

“We are committed to providing opportunities to learn about colonization and the impacts on the health and wellness of the Indigenous population.” – Dr. Brittany Bingham, Director of Research, Vancouver Coastal Health

We are adjusting our language to be more inclusive and respectful of Indigenous patients and their culture. This includes replacing the term "Aboriginal" with "Indigenous" to align with the global standard for terminology and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Improving Indigenous cultural safety is not limited to just services. In acknowledging and honouring words that matter, we worked closely with the Tla’amin Nation to rename the former Powell River General Hospital. The Tla’amin Nation generously gifted to VCH the name qathet, which means “working together”. On July 25, 2022, qathet General Hospital was unveiled.

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