Two new clinics in Surrey are offering “culturally safe” and holistic health care to 17,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit people in this city.
The Indigenous Primary Health and Wellness Home is the first of its kind in the Fraser Health Authority’s region and is located at the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association at A101-10095 Whalley Blvd., and the Kla-How-Eya Healing Place at the Guildford Public Health Unit.
Provincial Minister of Health Adrian Dix was in Surrey Wednesday to present the clinics, which opened for service on Dec. 10 and operates from 8:30 a.m. t0 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
“The wellness home delivers a model of team-based care that is rooted in cultural values and traditional wellness approach to health,” Dix said. “This unique project is the result of a joint effort with community and health authority partners, and one that we’re very proud to support.”
It’s a partnership between Fraser Health and the First Nations Health Authority, providing services to address physical, mental and social needs, “as well as spiritual wellness using a wellness ‘circle of care’ approach.”
It also helps with housing, financial and legal issues. Staff include a physician, nurse practitioners, primary care nurses, a “Circle of Care” coordinator, a registered psychiatric nurse, a mental health clinician, licensed practical nurses, a social worker and medical office assistants.
Grand Chief Doug Kelly, chairman of the First Nations Health Council, said there’s demand for care that pairs traditional Aboriginal teachings and the best of Western medicine.
“The Surrey area is home to the largest Indigenous population in B.C.,” he noted. “The First Nations Health Council appreciates the productive partnership between the First Nations Health Authority and Fraser Health. When First Nations are able to own and influence the decisions about our health and other services that impact our families and communities, the outcomes and successes will be positive. I look forward to seeing this good work move forward.”
Joe Gallagher, CEO of the First Nations Health Authority, said the wellness home will serve as a model for health service delivery for Indigenous people in all urban areas.
“This clinic and its providers will ensure culturally safe services for our people by making cultural humility the foundation of how they approach this important work,” Gallagher said.
Jim Sinclair, chairman of the board for Fraser Health, says the new service embeds a tradition wellness approach in all aspects of its delivery, “to ensure each patient and their family is part of the process every step of the way.”