Identifying the Needs of lnnu and Inuit Patients in Urban Health Settings in Newfoundland and Labrador
This study responds to calls for more culturally appropriate, urban health services for Labradors 1,800 Innu (formerly known as Naskapi-Montagnais Indians) and 5,000 Inuit (formerly known as Eskimos) who live in nine isolated villages, almost all without road connections. Innu and Inuit have to travel long distances to urban centres Goose Bay, Labrador and/or St. Johns, Newfoundland to access most health care services. Labrador Innu and Inuit are socially isolated and emotionally dependent on experts who do not understand their cultural references and practices. Health care practitioners often have a poor understanding of the social construction of illness events from the Aboriginal patients perspectives. For many Innu and Inuit, traveling to urban centres for health services is a stressful experience, Innu and Inuit explain this stress in terms of their immersion in culturally alien settings. They suffer profound disorientation in airports, hospitals, and the surrounding cities. Both study participants and health care consultants cite the lack of culturally appropriate services as a relevant factor in the persistence of this disorientation. Language interpretation is the most obvious example of this; it was the issue participants usually cited first. Given experience in Labrador and elsewhere, poor interpretation is only one of a number of communications issues. Thus, even when interpretation services are available, ... verbal messages must pass through two culturally conditioned screens - the physician's and the patient's." Other logistical problems, including accommodations and diet, could be overcome with cultural sensitivity. A report based on this study was well received by the Governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada. The SJFCA is negotiating the establishment of an Aboriginal hostel in St. Johns with the federal government. With further funding provided by the provincial government, workshops aimed at health care practitioners and students in the health faculties are being developed.
01 Jan 2002
Strategic Social Plan (Demonstration Projects), Government Of Newfoundland And Labrador
Strategic Research Theme
Arctic and Northern Regions
Well-being, Health and Biomedical Discovery