For Immediate Release
June 21, 2012
London, Ontario – Aboriginal people age 55 plus now have someone to help them navigate the health care system.
Aboriginal Patient Navigator Bonnie Doxtator provides assistance to Aboriginal patients (First Nations, Metis, Inuit, Status and Non-Status,) who need help to find their way through the complex hospital system. She also works with health care providers as a member of the care team.
“I help ensure access to and provision of, culturally appropriate health care services, and strive to eliminate any barriers that might be there” says Doxtator.
Working with Aboriginal people is not new for Doxtator, who has worked as a front line health advocacy worker for many years, including her work as the Senior’s Health Advocate for the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC), Supporting Aboriginal Seniors At Home program.
“I will also help patients make connections to traditional Aboriginal healers, if they choose, and make referrals upon discharge to services they need to live longer in their homes.” Doxtator says
“Our vision at LHSC is to provide excellent patient care, improve the patient and family experience, and engage in collaborative partnerships,” says Bonnie Adamson, President and CEO, LHSC. “The aboriginal navigator program is an excellent example of our efforts to support the diverse needs of the communities we serve."
What is the role of the Aboriginal Patient Navigator?
- Provide a home visit or hospital visit
- To enhance communication between patients and health care providers
- Increase access to culturally supportive health care
- Identify perceived or real barriers to health care
- Help patients fill out or understand forms
- Link patients and families to needed follow-up service
- Maintain regular contact with patient during their hospital stay
- Link Aboriginal patients to local service providers
- Direct or lead patients to comprehensive resources
“I love working with seniors. They carry a lot of knowledge and I learn a lot from our elders so I benefit as well,” says Doxtator. “I find it rewarding to work for them.”
Patients and families can be referred by the staff of SOAHAC or LHSC and can also access the program through self-referral. Funding for the Aboriginal Patient Navigator role is provided to SOAHAC through the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and supported by the Aboriginal Committee of the South West LHIN.
The Aboriginal Patient Navigator is one service in a variety of services currently ramping up across the South West LHIN, targeting Aboriginal seniors at risk. The initiative aims to improve access and quality of care for aboriginal seniors in a culturally relevant manner.
“It’s essential that cultural diversity be recognized and the LHIN is pleased to support this position to help bridge the culture gap that exists between traditional western care environments and the traditions of the aboriginal communities”, says Michael Barrett, CEO South West LHIN.
Doxtator is available for in-person interviews before 1:00 pm.
About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 137 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 50 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca
About Southwest Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC)
Southwest Aboriginal Health Access Centre strives to provide high quality, wholistic health services by sharing and promoting Traditional and western health practices in order to assist people to live in a more balanced state of well-being. The Centre’s purpose is to improve access to and the quality of health services for the Aboriginal communities of Southwestern Ontario in the spirit of partnership, mutual respect and sharing. SOAHAC operates from two centres in Southwestern Ontario, one in Chippewas of the Thames, and the other in London. Services are provided to on and off reserve Aboriginal people in the city of London as well as eight area First Nation communities. These include Chippewas of the Thames, Caldwell, Sarnia, Moravian, Walpole Island, Kettle and Stony Point, Oneida and Munsee. For more information visit www.soahac.on.ca
About South West LHIN
The South West Local Health Integration Network is one of 14 LHINs that have been established across Ontario as part of an overall strategy to transform health care. LHINs are responsible for health care planning, funding, allocation and performance reporting in their geographic regions, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all Ontarians have access to high quality preventive care, treatment and support.
London Health Sciences Centre
Telephone: 519-685-8500 Ext. 75155