What We Heard: FNHA Mental Health and Wellness Summit 2019
This past week, the College was fortunate enough to be invited back to the second annual Mental Health and Wellness Summit hosted by the First Nations Health Authority!
The 2019 Frist Nations Primary Care and Mental Health and Wellness Summit focused on weaving wholistic wellness into the health care system – bringing together the best of western medicine and First Nations traditional wellness approaches. The summit showcased the latest developments in policy, program design, and service delivery work to improve the health and wellness of BC First Nations.
As an exhibitor, we took the opportunity to connect with participants, build trust and awareness of our role as a health regulator in protecting public safety, and learn more about what cultural safety in pharmacy means to First Nations in BC.
Given the significant impact the opioid overdose crisis is having on First Nations people in BC, we also used our exhibit booth to share resources on emergency use Naloxone, including where to access it and how to follow the SAVE ME Steps to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Although First Nations comprise just over 3% of the population in BC, they are disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis due to racism, intergenerational trauma and the ongoing legacy of colonization. With approximately 13% of all overdose events in BC being experienced by First Nations populations, First Nations people are five times more likely than non-First Nations people to experience an overdose event.
This year, we placed additional emphasis on Intranasal Naloxone (aka “Nasal Naloxone”), its efficacy and availability, and how to administer it. Nasal naloxone – which became available for Frist Nations in BC last year – is an important option to increase access to, and use of naloxone for First Nations in communities where needles are stigmatized or other barriers to using injectable naloxone exist.
In addition to sharing naloxone resources, we also highlighted our complaints process, providing information on our complaints process to help remove barriers and demystify some of the methods and procedures we use to protect the public by ensuring all registered pharmacy professionals are held accountable for their responsibility to provide safe and effective care. Having an accessible mechanism for complaints resolution, free from fear of judgement or reprisal, is vital to the creation and maintenance of a culturally safe healthcare system.
We also took the chance to talk with the public and members of BC’s First Nations Community about the College’s Commitment to improving BC pharmacy professionals’ work with First Nations and Aboriginal People, and the “Declaration of Cultural Safety and Humility in Health Services Delivery for First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC” that our Registrar, Bob Nakagawa, signed on March 1, 2017.
WHAT WE HEARD
In addition to sharing our resources, we connected with local health directors and administrators, mental health professionals, and community leaders and engaged in conversations focused on what pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, as one of the most accessible health care professionals, can do to advance cultural safety and humility for First Nations and Aboriginal People within BC’s health system.
We asked them to share their thoughts on what cultural safety and humility within BC Pharmacies looks like to them so that we might share their responses with our registrants.
Here’s what we heard…
What Does Culturally Safe Pharmacy Care Mean to You?
- “Remember that everyone has the right to be listened to and understood.”
- “Taking the time to listen to their unique needs and be open to adjusting pharmacy ‘protocols’ to be more client specific. Slowing down and offering teaching.”
- “Being guided by the person about their needs and not being afraid to learn about traditional medicines so you can be knowledgeable and help the person understand how pharma-meds and traditional meds work.”
- “Listening, learning and understanding the culture.”
On Being Knowledgeable and Current
- “Learning the ways the local First Nations communicate (i.e. nodding does not necessarily mean yes).”
- “Pharmacists who know the system and keep up with current changes. E.g. naloxone kits, nasal spray, medical benefits, plan w.”
- “More information on holistic approaches and side effects.”
- “Respectful, kind and knowledgeable about First Nations Health Benefits Program. Willing to put time in to learn.”
- “Cultural safety and humility, taught during university training that is mandatory for entry to practice.”
- "Respect for indigenous ways of knowing and being and allowing patients the right to self-determine care and medicines."
- “Having awareness of plan w and pharmacist initiated meds when clients ask.”
- “I believe we need to see them come to our community more often, especially for our elders; they take the meds they are given, without question.”
- “Positive caring relationships with First Nations Communities.”
- “Know the Nations surrounding your pharmacy.”
- “Safer and more secure means to pick up and deliver prescriptions for elders who live in remote communities.”
- "Respectful conversations with community on traditional medicines.”
- “Learn basic greetings in language of local First Nations people.”
- "Building relationships with community and those accessing the pharmacy.”
On Respect, Communication and Cultural Awareness
- "Equal care and respect for everyone.”
- “Respect from both sides of the counter.”
- “Cultural sensitivity and understanding the needs of who you are working with is key to balance.”
- “Look people in the eyes with kindness in your heart.”
- “Unbiased, non-racist, non-judgemental.”
- “Talking with clients – meeting them at their level and taking the time to listen.”
- “Empowering people to be leaders on their own journeys to wellness.”
- “Respect for indigenous ways of knowing and being and allowing patients the right to self-determine care and medicines.”
- “Speaking in understandable language to diminish power differentials.”
- “Understanding intergenerational trauma and how it has affected individuals. Non-judgmental!”
- “It means less assumptions and more privacy when I go to get my prescriptions.”
- "Dismantling power dynamics between patient and provider"
Thank you to the over 100 participants who shared their thoughts with us and contributed to our continued efforts toward improving BC Pharmacy Professionals’ work with First Nations and Aboriginal People.
To learn more about the College’s Cultural Humility and Safety Strategy visit us at:
CULTURAL SAFETY AND HUMILITY READLINKS SERIES
Learn about the culture and experiences of First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC, the importance of acknowledging racism in healthcare, and the role of cultural humility and safety in providing care in this Cultural Safety and Humility ReadLinks Series. The series also captures the College's journey in learning about cultural safety and humility including what we hear through engagement with First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC.