Thanking health care assistants for their dedication and hard work



​In May 2024, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) hosted a Health Care Assistants Education Forum: Weaving Wellness, Wisdom and Culture, where Health Care Assistants were recognized for their hard work and dedication.

The two, three day forum sessions were hosted on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people and were attended by over 110 Health Care Asistants (HCA). Knowledge Keeper Lucy Barney facilitated the forum with grace, humour, and wisdom; sharing her gifts of cultural knowledge, practices and connection.

HCAs are unregulated health care providers, who provide personal care to members of the community in the Home and Community Care Program. They are integral to home and community care service. We honour and uplift HCAs for the love and relationships that they have and bring to the people they journey alongside in communities.

Cultural support and practices, self-care, wellness and connecting to each other were integrated into the forum. HCAs engaged in weaving yarn headbands with Musqueam weaver Rita Kompst; in learning about plant medicine with Cease and Senaqwila Wyss, ethnobotanists from the Squamish Nation; and they honoured their wholistic wellness with Sacred Hoop Teachings shared by Knowledge Keeper Shirley David. Indian Residential School Survivors Society honoured HCA spirits with daily cultural support.

The education portion of the forum had a busy agenda that covered topics like dementia, Elder Unkindness, intentional or unintentional harm, Indigenous grief and lo​ss, cultural safety and humility, arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions. Attendees also had the opportunity to practice hands on skills on topics like diabetes glucometer checks, vital signs, medication support, respiratory care, skin and wound care, naloxone, falls prevention, palliative symptoms, nutrition, and TB testing support.

The sessions also included cultural performances with dancing and drumming by Love Medicine, and the second week, Francis Lewis, his wife Milissa Henry, and their daughter Roberta Lewis from Squamish Nation, shared their gifts of song and storytelling. After the performances, the Health Care Assistants were presented with cedar roses during the recognition ceremony.  We raise our hands to the contributions that HCAs make in the health and wellness journeys of First Nation communities in BC. ​​​

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