May 18, 2022
Support to help Indigenous Peoples navigate health system
Phone line to launch in phases across AHS North Zone starting May 30
Indigenous Peoples in the North Zone of Alberta Health Services (AHS) will soon have a dedicated support line to help them better navigate the health system.
The phone line will be implemented in a phased approach across the zone starting on May 30. Introduction of the service will begin in Indigenous communities in the northwest part of the province; additional areas will be added weekly for six weeks.
“The Government of Alberta and AHS are committed to providing Indigenous peoples and organizations high-quality, culturally safe, accessible healthcare. This support line will assist Indigenous peoples and organizations to navigate our health system and will work towards improved health outcomes,” says Jason Copping, Minister of Health.
The support line will be staffed by Indigenous Health Link staff and available weekdays from noon to 8 p.m. Staff will answer callers’ questions, help them access culturally appropriate care and support and assist them with navigating the healthcare system. Clients can call at any time during their healthcare journey with questions or concerns – whether they are not currently receiving care, about to start care, in care, or discharged from care.
“With the support and direction of our AHS Wisdom Council, we’ve been exploring how best to integrate advice and feedback into our health policies and practices on better representing and serving Indigenous peoples in a culturally sensitive and meaningful way to continue building trust and removing barriers within the system,” says Val Austen-Wiebe, Senior Program Officer of the Indigenous Wellness Core.
The support line project is being introduced to Indigenous community leaders through a virtual town hall meeting. The phone number will be provided to each area as the program rolls out through May, June, and July.
“This support line is another step in strengthening our relationships with our Indigenous patients and communities,” says Stacy Greening, Chief Zone Officer, North Zone. “We understand that to support and serve the Indigenous population, we need to ensure culturally appropriate connection points with the system that are grounded in a patient- and-family centred approach.”
All Albertans are asked to call 911 if they have a medical emergency. Health Link (811) also remains available 24/7 for non-emergency, health-related questions.
The support line is being launched as a pilot project to ensure the proper resources are in place to support Indigenous community members. AHS will evaluate the project and make any needed improvements before rolling it out in other zones.
AHS values Indigenous culture and the unique needs of individuals, patients and families and is incorporating traditional culture into the healthcare system.
Dedicated AHS Indigenous Wellness Core staff is available throughout the province and take into consideration culturally appropriate health services for First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.
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