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Because your voice matters.

Cultural Safety in Patient Engagement: A “What Matters to You?” Story

Posted • Last updated

Categories: News & Events, What Matters to You

The Patient and Public Engagement Team from the BC Patient & Safety Quality Council hosted a virtual gathering on June 17 for Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) patient partners from the Patient Voices Network (PVN). This gathering centred around hearing what matters to them to be culturally safe while participating in engagement opportunities. Health care partners attended as witnesses and were encouraged to observe, listen with intent and report back to their organizations what they heard first-hand on what makes Indigenous patient partners feel comfortable and safe. The Council is also developing a resource—to share with all our partners—about culturally safe patient engagement based on what we heard from the two questions discussed:

  • What matters to you to experience cultural safety in patient engagement?
  • What single message is important for you to give a health care provider leading a committee, focus group or other engagement?

This event was co-designed with Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Bill Blackwater, a PVN patient partner, as well as Tammy Hoefer and Cathy Almost from the Council. Pre-meetings were held to establish context on the purpose of this event and to prepare patient partners for their roles. They were glad for the opportunity to meet each other and discuss goals for the event.

Patient partners felt heard and health care partners were grateful to be part of the conversation. “When you give someone information or knowledge you are giving away a gift your Elders and ancestors gave you. This needs to be valued,” stated Victoria English, Blackfoot.

Both Indigenous patient partners and health care partners felt the session content was valuable and commented that they look forward to continuing the discussion. “We [Indigenous People] speak with our hearts and our heads,” said Duane Jackson, Gitanmaax. One health care partner noted, “I heard that leaving with a good feeling from both sides (health care partner and patient partner) would indicate a good engagement.” Another commented that, “common sense, kindness and respect for people’s time must be considered by the system when engaging and we can do better.”  We are looking forward to sharing the resource with you once it’s ready!

Author: Cathy Almost, Engagement Leader, BCPSQC

From Our Community

Agnes Black

Director, Health Services & Clinical Research and Knowledge Translation – Providence Health Care

Agnes Black

It’s really hard to make changes in health care. When a PVN patient partner says, ‘This is important to us’ it keeps us grounded on why a change is needed and keeps us motivated to keep going on projects.