Increasing access to culturally safe care
We are committed to improving access to culturally safe care to help close the health and social disparities gap experienced by Indigenous Peoples in B.C.
This year, we launched an initiative asking all patients who come into acute care or inpatient services at Vancouver General Hospital and 50 priority clinics if they wish to self-identify as Indigenous during the registration process. Using our new CST Cerner digital patient records system, we can now easily track self-identification, a process that is discreet, voluntary and inclusive. With this information now included on a patient’s record, our teams are better able to provide culturally safe care and supports as part of their individual care plan.
The addition of Indigenous self-identification into a patient record, along with staff cultural safety training, has increased awareness around Indigenous health needs.
Referrals to our Indigenous Patient Experience team has more than doubled in the last few months of 2022 and we have seen an increase in referrals to Elders for cultural support.
We continue to expand our Indigenous Patient Experience team, with early data indicating their work is already leading to a decrease in the number of complaints.
- Hired additional Indigenous Patient Navigators (IPNs) and introduced a full-time position for an Elders in Residence coordinator.
- IPNs have been assisting patients in urban hospitals for some time and we have now expanded services to Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Sechelt/shíshálh and the qathet region.
- In Lower Mainland urban facilities, IPNs are now on-site seven days a week with expanded hours. They are assisting patients from 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to 5 pm on weekends, while before their services were available from 9 am to 5 pm during weekdays.
- IPNs add to the efforts of two Indigenous Patient Quality Liaisons who joined VCH in 2021 to help address Indigenous patient complaints in a culturally safe, equitable and restorative manner.