Indigenous patients at Chinook Regional Hospital and other healthcare facilities in the Lethbridge area can access support for navigating Alberta Health Services as the Indigenous Patient Navigator (IPN) program returns.
The program was put on hold during the pandemic and supports patients accessing healthcare related programs, specifically emergency admission, inpatient stays, pre admission and continuity of care and it assists with navigating discharge services.
The IPN service is offered through Four Winds and is available at: Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, Cardston Health Centre, Pincher Creek Health Centre and Fort Macleod Health Centre.
The Four Winds team are members of Kainai, Piikani and Sandy Lake (ON) First Nations and they work alongside Indigenous Hospital Liaison Services and Traditional Wellness Coordinator Services at Alberta Health Services.
“I am grateful to be working alongside a great Indigenous team and helping patients in and out of the hospital,” says Jeremy Chief Calf from Kainai. “We have received great appreciation from patients and staff for the program.”
Alberta Health Services says the service is unique as Indigenous patients, or their family members, can contact the Four Winds team directly.
“We are excited to support this important navigation project to help Indigenous patients and families,” says Colin Zieber, AHS senior operating officer. “The project is helping inform the wider health system on the challenges and barriers Indigenous patients face when seeking or receiving care. Identifying these barriers is the first step toward removing obstacles to care.”
The Four Winds Project is supported by $1.4 million in grant funding from the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System (PRIHS), a partnership between AHS and Alberta Innovates. Grant funding for Four Winds has been secured until June 2024.