For Immediate Release
PORT ALBERNI – Members of the Nuu-chah-nulth communities gathered today to celebrate the grand opening of a culturally-safe space inside West Coast General Hospital that is welcoming to Indigenous patients and families.
The All Nations Room is a space where families can gather to share traditional healing practices and ceremonies, such as prayer and ritual cleansing. A special grand opening event was held today to celebrate the opening of the room for all who want to make use of it.
“The All Nations Room will increase the representation of the Nuu-chah-nulth people and culture in the physical environment of the West Coast General Hospital, and will support First Nations people to feel more at ease in the hospital setting. We proudly stand with our communities on this day of celebration and raise our hands to our partner (Island Health) for their commitment to creating a culturally safe space," said Brennan MacDonald, FNHA's Executive Director for Vancouver Island. “This project builds on the commitment to address cultural safety and humility in health-care services under the Partnership Accord between the First Nations of Vancouver Island, the First Nations Health Authority and Island Health."
“We are committed to providing health-care that is culturally respectful and addresses the needs of Indigenous patients and their families," said Scott Fraser, MLA for Port Alberni-Pacific Rim. “I'm proud to see the opening of the new All Nations Room and hope that it helps Indigenous patients feel comforted and supported on their healing journey."
“The creation of the All Nations Room is a result of a partnership between First Nations, the First Nations Health Authority, and Island Health," said Ian Knipe, Director of Aboriginal Health for Island Health. “The All Nations Room reflects a commitment from Island Health to ensure that First Nations people and other Indigenous peoples feel welcomed and respected when they come to West Coast General Hospital."
The West Coast General Hospital Cultural Saf ety Committee proposed an All Nations Room at West Coast General Hospital in 2014. Representatives from the Tseshaht, Hupacasath, Uchucklesaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, three local health service providers, Island Health and the First Nations Health Authority worked together to turn this into reality. The West Coast General Hospital Foundation generously provided $10,000 to furnish the space.
“The West Coast General Hospital Foundation is pleased to have contributed furnishings to the All Nations Room as an expression of our support for diversity and inclusivity in our community," said Foundation business director Chris Francey. “We trust this new space will provide any family in need of a safe and welcoming environment within the hospital to gather together and share their feelings during challenging times."
The All Nations Room in West Coast General Hospital is a comfortable space with a small kitchen area, tables and reclining chairs.
The FNHA is responsible for planning, management, service delivery and funding of health programs, in partnership with First Nations communities in BC. Guided by the vision of embedding cultural safety and humility into health service delivery, the FNHA works to reform the way health care is delivered to BC First Nations.
About Island Health:
Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 794,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. With more than 21,000 staff and over 2,000 physician partners, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: Public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.
Island Health Dominic Abassi
First Nations Health Authority John Moody