Shift our mindset
True collaboration with patients, family providers, and partners requires an environment where everyone feels safe, healthy and valued. To achieve our goals, we must strive to welcome and celebrate diversity, create culturally safe places, provide the best possible patient and family-centred-care, and have an impact in our communities.
Here are some examples where teams found collaboration to be especially important:
Inquiring about financial strain
Information should be gathered sensitively, without judgment, to avoid further marginalization of the patient. To maximize patient comfort and build rapport, it is crucial to create an inclusive culture. Primary care teams thoughtfully considered who on the team should ask the questions and ensured privacy during the conversation.
"We live in a world with systemic biases toward people of certain identities (eg, women; racialized people; indigenous people; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning [LGBTQ] individuals; people with disabilities). In our health care spaces, we must do our utmost to undo the unconscious biases we have, be aware of our own experiences of privilege and oppression, and work to create welcoming environments for everyone. It can be helpful to have signs that communicate openness (eg, LGBTQ-positive space)" (Goel et al, 216)
Starting inclusive conversations
Building a trusting relationship and an inclusive environment allowed patients to have collaborative discussions and work towards addressing the underlying causes impacting health. Words matter. Primary care teams thought about how to give people power and avoid stigmatization. Childhood experiences such as historical trauma increase the risk of financial strain. These teams also participated in training and practiced trauma-informed care.
Build trust over time
Trust is a key foundation when exploring social challenges. People with financial strain may feel embarrassed or may worry that they will be treated differently if the community or health care provider knew their social situation. Primary care teams discovered many ways to build trust, which allowed them to focus on the person's needs.
Megan shares in her story, the need to be sensitive to people's timing, readiness and what is important to them. She found that employment, housing, food, and other social needs are essential starting points in supporting mental health.
“My role is not finding solutions but empowering them to find the solution for themselves” - Megan, PCN Mental Health Nurse
Gather with Community and different sectors
"Health-harming social factors, such as economic inequality, misogyny, homophobia, systemic racism, and colonialism require action beyond the medical office." (and
Kindness is really powerful medicine
- AHS. Diversity and Inclusion. https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/about/Page13880.aspx. Published 2022