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Cultural Support

Health care service delivered in a culturally safe manner improves the care experience and health outcomes for Indigenous peoples. When Indigenous peoples feel safe, they are more likely to access health services. 

Creating a safe, welcoming environment for our Indigenous patients and their families while in care at BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre is a key goal of our Indigenous Health program.

We offer Indigenous patients the opportunity to seek healing using a traditional approach. We have an outdoor sacred space that is available. We also offer access to elder services which provides spiritual care and support.

While in care at BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre you will have access to our Indigenous patient liaisons who offer support such as accompanying to medical appointments onsite, facilitate communications between patient and health care providers, as well as provide other cultural support that include connecting patients and their families with an elder or spiritual advisor.

Elder Services

The Elders work as part of the interdisciplinary teams, working from a model of patient first and culturally safe equity aware care. 

Elder Services embody the following values:
  • Everything is connected.
  • Respect for Indigenous peoples diversity of values, beliefs, and culture.
  • Work with hearts of compassion and empathy.
  • Reconciliation is a shared responsibility.
  • Embrace and foster connecting to cultural and traditional teachings.
  • Embrace standing strong in identity and culture.
  • Support and facilitate access to traditional healing and wellness practices.
Sacred Space

The outdoor sacred space provides a dedicated area for women and their families to gather and carry out healing ceremonies of their own traditions and values. 

It is important to recognize that healing not only encompasses medical treatment, but can also include healing practices that are part of individual cultural traditions.


Special Events
Orange Shirt Day at C&W - September 29 2017

Orange Shirt Day, held annually on September 30, is to raise awareness and keep dialogue open about residential schools and their legacy for Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

Orange shirts as a representation of this important day grew out of the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad. As a child Phyllis's grandmother took her to buy a new outfit for her first year at school. She picked out a shiny orange shirt and was very excited to wear it at her new school. On the first day of school all the children were stripped of their clothing. Phyllis never saw her orange shirt again. The memory of her orange shirt came to symbolize her journey through residential school and everything that experience took from her and left her with.

"Our Indigenous patients have been affected by residential schools and the intergenerational trauma. I welcome staff to participate and show support for our Indigenous patients and families by wearing orange shirts on September 29," says Cheryl Davies, chief operating officer of BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre.

"I wish to invite all staff to join Indigenous Health and wear an orange shirt on Friday September 29, as a way to remember the impacts of residential school and our role in raising awareness and the work we are moving forward in with reconciliation," says Linda Lemke, chief operating officer of BC Children's Hospital. 

Honoring this important day aligns with our work in reconciliation and Indigenous Cultural Safety at PHSA and the signing of the Declaration of Commitment by Carl Roy on July 16, 2015 in conjunction with all the regional health authorities and the First Nations Health Authority in BC. 

"C&W Indigenous Health is pleased to lead in further awareness on this important day" says Jenny Morgan, director, Indigenous Health at C&W.

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