Stollery Hospital reaches out to First Nations in Slave Lake

(l. to r.) Kristal Kamoonse, Sherri Di Lallo and Shirley Lazaruk.
Katrina Owens
Lakeside Leader

Folks from Stollery Children’s Hospital were in town earlier this month and hosted a day-long event.
“We reached out to Treaty 8 communities to see how they think we can provide better services to Indigenous children,” says Sherri Di Lallo, Stollery Indigenous Child Health Nurse Co-ordinator. “We listened to community front-line workers and heard what priorities need to be looked at.”
Health workers from Atikameg–Whitefish, Driftpile, Sucker Creek, Swan River, Bigstone and Slave Lake were all in attendance.
Why is this important?
“It’s a good follow through for the child being discharged,” says Di Lallo. “It’s bridging that gap between the hospital and care facilities’ back in the community. We’re hosting these ‘talking circles’ as part of our developed strategies to find out how we can make discharging plans better.”
Di Lallo adds, “We hosted our first one here in Slave Lake because it’s a hub of sorts for surrounding areas.”
“I think it’s all going to start here if we’re ever going to bridge those gaps,” echoes AHS health support worker Kristal Kamoonse. “It’s going to do wonders and it all starts today!”
Kamoonse works out of Driftpile along with Shirley Lazaruk.
Both attended the event and say it was a good experience.
“We started to work on a discharge plan initiative a few months ago,” says Kamoonse. “We want to pull Driftpile and neighbour communities together and work with Stollery and other major hospitals. We want to advocate for First Nation children and their families to cover that service gap in communication.”
Though the two are separate programs, both Di Lallo and Kamoonse say they share a common goal.
“It’s happening on both sides,” says Di Lallo. “I’m excited to see what’s to come.”
“These talking circles are great for workers to come collaborate with other communities and see what they are doing. They can see what’s working and take it back to try out for themselves,” says Lazaruk.
A few of the priorities brought up at the Feb. 1 meeting included creating a better communication flow between hospitals and outpatient care, and having an Indigenous office in hospitals.
“By having an office right in intake people will be able to see what they qualify for in terms of resources and supports,” says Kamoonse. “People also really want a house where families can stay while their children are in hospital. A place that’s culturally sensitive.”
Di Lallo says the next talking circles will be held in Edmonton, Bonnyville and Fort McMurray.
For more information, call 780-407-8822.

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