Kwiis hen niip – “Change”: Changing emergency care in remote Indigenous communities in BC

Kwiis Hen Niip Workshop Participants: Samantha Christiansen, Jeannette Watts, Rhiannon Davis, Rebecca Lee, Shannon Waters, and Jim Christenson (left to right).

In our efforts to support emergency services throughout BC, the EM Network has entered a partnership with four Nuu Chah Nulth communities (Kyuquot, Hesquiaht, Ahousaht, Tla-o-qui-aht) to understand and improve remote Indigenous emergency care. Through engagement and collaboration, we are developing a set of actionable items that will have a robust impact on emergency care delivered in these remote indigenous communities.

Our overall vision is broad, but our focus for this next phase is specific. We are applying for a grant that will enable us to evaluate key interventions implemented in the four partner communities. The goal is to ignite further improvements in emergency care in other Indigenous communities and remote locations.

We are working towards this goal by prioritizing community engagement. We have had two large meetings with community members, partner organizations (Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council, BCEHS, VIHA, FNHA), and the research team. The meetings have reinforced the enthusiasm and shared vision to make a difference in emergency care. At the most recent meeting, the project was named ‘Kwiis hen niip’ by an elder, the Nuu Chah Nulth term for ‘Change’.

The project was named ‘Kwiis hen niip’ by an elder, the Nuu Chah Nulth term for ‘Change’.

The meetings have led to the development of the 5 major themes that will shape the next steps of the project: Communication, First Responder Support, Training, Transport, and Community Resources and Readiness. Each theme was brought up by identifying specific systemic shortcomings, listening to stories from community and discussing solutions for change.

The BC EM Network is working with community partners and supporting health authorities to put forth a competitive grant application to support this work. We are refining the interventions to fit the specific needs of the partner communities. This also serves to advance the network’s mission of supporting, sharing, and innovating to improve patient care. We believe the success of this project is critical to the pursuit of equitable care across BC.

For more information please contact Sharla Drebit, EM Network Manager, for more information regarding this exciting project.