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All Nations Healing Hospital boasts holistic health care model

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The TRC Call to Action 22 asks the health-care system to recognize the value of Aboriginal healing practices and use them in the treatment of Aboriginal patients in collaboration with Aboriginal healers and Elders.

This step towards reconciliation is happening for First Nations communities in Fort Qu’Appelle and surrounding areas as they have been benefiting from a holistic health care model.

The All Nations Healing Hospital has instituted, over the last several years, an integrated health care model, that has been meeting the needs of these communities and providing care as different needs arise.

The hospital is owned and operated by Touchwood Agency Tribal Council and File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council on Treaty 4 land. Since 2004 they have provided a range of services that have been integrated to suit the health needs of the communities including acute, community-based, cultural and traditional health care services, as well as specialist needs. The hospital is an affiliate of the Qu’Appelle Health Region.

In a Q&A with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Lorna Breitkreuz, director of client services at the hospital, talks about how the care model came with listening to the community.

Q: What kind of services does the hospital provide and who does it cater to primarily?
There are three components to the hospital: acute care services, First Nation health community based services and the healing center which is the cultural and traditional services and mental health services. With the acute care unit, we have an affiliated agreement with Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region and we serve everyone in the town of Fort Qu’Appelle, rural municipalities, as well as nine First Nations communities.

Q: I understand All Nations has an integrated health care model. What does this model entail?
When patients come to the hospital, we provide a seamless approach to care. They can access services from within the organization, whether they are in the acute care or otherwise and this is coordinated across the organization for them. Not only do we provide acute care services but we provide a number of community based services like home care and chronic disease care and we also have the women’s health center which is integrated within the facility.

We also have a comprehensive maternity care program so we have low risks births and we also follow women through pregnancy and coordinate maternity care for clients seeking these services. We have cultural care services and the traditional knowledge keeper, who also has access to traditional medicines. Therefore, clients can access traditional medicines and with the medical care we provide, the western medicine and traditional medicine really comes together to work for a holistic approach for clients. Those are the integrated processes we’ve established.

Q: How long has this model been in place?
The hospital has been open since 2004, but the integrated model care has been evolving over the years as health needs are identified. We expand our services to meet those needs.

The women’s health center and the maternity care services were open as a result of the community need for more responsive and accessible maternal child health care. Cultural services are also very intrinsic to our clients healing and well-being and those services have to be accessible to clients.

We also have outreach specialists’ services where they come out to the hospital to cater to the well-being of the community. We have a podiatrist, dermatologists, infectious disease specialist, and nephrologist who come out and those services were as a result of needs identified among community members. We’ve moved forward with our chronic wellness center to enhance kidney care services which has also been a vision for our First Nations leadership to provide better services of dialysis for clients living with chronic kidney diseases.

We’ve also expanded in areas such as HIV and Hepatitis C in the last two years significantly with access to treatment and follow-ups.

Q: Are there any challenges with this approach?
Sometimes there are policy related issues with the greater health care system that we encounter every day. However, those are policy related issues that we can bring forward and hopefully the greater system can hear us and address them.  

Q: What has the feedback been like from the community?
Very positive. We are accredited with Accreditation Canada with exemplary standing so the standards of care with client safety, education and clinical services are measured by national standards. For the last eight years, we’ve had exemplary standing, which only five per cent of Canadian hospitals have, so I think this affirms the direction and the positive impact that the hospital achieves.

By: Sasha-Gay Lobban 

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