► Join in the action to improve access to French-language health services
French-language education is a fact of life. Our challenge now? To achieve the same goal in health care where access to French-language services is critical to the health and well-being of the Francophone population.
Amazing what we can do when we partner together.
Below are tips and ideas on how to improve access to French-language health and mental health services. Every action counts. It all adds up to positive change. It can be something as simple as reading what follows, or engaging people around you.
Presenting A Compelling Case for Change
First things first: people need to understand what needs to change and why. So putting together a convincing case for positive change is key.
This means articulating a strong evidence-based argument, backed by facts and figures, and offering practical ideas and possible solutions.
It also means engaging others in a dialogue that is both meaningful and constructive.
Making the Case: Reasons for Change
- In 2012, Alberta Health Services adopted a patient-centered care framework and action plan identifying the Francophone population as a vulnerable group requiring targeted chronic disease prevention and management, primary and community care programming. The time for implementation is now.
- Alberta’s commitment to patient-centered care is an open invitation to Francophone patients to express their health needs and priorities. And the time to speak up is now.
- Culture, which includes language, is one of the 12 determinants of health recognized world-wide as having a strong influence on health and well-being.
- Effective communication between patient and practitioner is key to ensuring the access to and provision of quality health care as well as the safety of patients.
- Providing linguistically appropriate health care translates into fewer medical errors, better understanding and treatment compliance, greater satisfaction and improved health outcomes leading to:
- A healthier population
- Better use of health care resources
- More efficient health care system
- Lower health care costs.
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“Alberta is strongly committed to providing patient-centered care. Language and culture are key components of that approach. Patients need to convey how important this is to their health and well-being. French-speaking health care providers should readily engage Francophone patients in their language. And in the face of pressing and growing health needs, our health care system must find ways of providing linguistically appropriate care as part of its patient-centered approach.ˮ
Dr. Denis Vincent, Chairman
Board of Directors
Réseau santé albertain
Réseau santé albertain has prepared a short bilingual brief that offers insights and prompts stakeholders into taking action.
What You Can Do
- Tell us about your health needs and ideas at QUIZ ME. It’s easy, fast and very helpful because it allows us to collect data for consideration at the health care planning stage.
- At your next medical appointment, try adding a Bonjour to your greeting. This may open the door to a French-language exchange. If not, no harm done. Just carry on as before.
- Encourage people around you to do the same, even inquire as to whether services are available in French. A simple, courteous inquiry made by different people at different times, at different facilities and clinics, is a message in itself and, when widespread, much harder to ignore.
- If you know of a French-speaking health care professional, share the information and pass it on to Réseau santé albertain at firstname.lastname@example.org
- If appropriate, go ahead and put up a poster at your workplace, download an information tool or e-blast a message, all of which are made available to you in this section.
Want To Do More?
- Fill out the patient feedback form in the Alberta Health Services web site to express how important it is for you, your family and/or your community to have access to French-language health services. Encourage others to do the same. IMPORTANT: Alberta’s Francophone population is not listed among the 12 population groups in the province which have expressed the need for services in their mother tongue. That’s why it’s important to speak up.
- Get involved in your Primary Care Network (PCN) where local and/or regional health care decisions are made. Find out how you can influence and/or contribute to the decision-making process through community engagement activities. Or talk to your PCN about establishing an annual mechanism whereby the Francophone population is systematically consulted about its health needs and priorities.
Become A Champion
- Create a workgroup to advocate for improved access to linguistically appropriate care, or launch a French-language community health project.
- Join a local PCN advisory committee, or become a Board member to contribute from within to the decision-making process.
- Take part in PCN community consultations which are held when PCNs are required to renew, or submit a business plan.
- Organize a Lunch & Learn Session with family doctors, a PCN board or management team to discuss the health needs and priorities of the Francophone population as well as the challenges of accessing primary health care.
- Send an email to email@example.com expressing your interest to contribute to strategic initiatives such as a task force mandated to tackle a major health issue, e.g., mental health, seniors’ health, and/or to join Réseau santé albertain’s Board of Directors.
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