Respiratory Care |

Access to Respiratory Care for First Nations Populations on Reserve in Alberta FREE TO VIEW

Arjun Ghuman; Ellen Toth; Chris Sarin; Dilini Vethanayagam
Author and Funding Information

University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Chest. 2015;148(4_MeetingAbstracts):1013A. doi:10.1378/chest.2281193
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SESSION TITLE: Respiratory Care Posters

SESSION TYPE: Original Investigation Poster

PRESENTED ON: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 01:30 PM - 02:30 PM

PURPOSE: Remote locations of reserves make it difficult for First Nations people to receive the respiratory care they need; for example, access to Pulmonary Function Tests, Methacholine Challenge, etc. Our goal was to quantify and visually represent the number and locations of reserves in Alberta. By doing this, we aim to help guide future healthcare policy regarding accessibility of care to these people, and to show how under-utilised resources, such as Tele-Health, can be valuable in connecting these patients with a respirologist.

METHODS: A map of all Alberta First Nations communities in vital statistics subzones was compiled using 2013 data from the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada. Edmonton and Calgary were used as the main points of reference because of their being the major tertiary and quaternary healthcare centres in Alberta. Google Maps was used to determine approximate time of travel in Alberta.

RESULTS: There are 114 First Nations reserves in 34 communities that are north of Edmonton. These span approximately 722km from Edmonton to the northern boundary of Alberta. Driving this distance in good driving conditions would take over 10 hours along the Mackenzie Highway. There are 17 First Nations reserves in 7 communities that are south of Edmonton and North of Calgary, and 7 communities south of Calgary to the other boundary of Alberta. The average driving time from these southern regions to Calgary can be upwards of 2.5 hours.

CONCLUSIONS: In accordance with the Canada Health Act, accessibility to healthcare is a fundamental aspect in caring for all people insured by healthcare service. It is a great challenge having to serve a large number of people over a great distance, and it is only made more difficult when one takes Alberta winter weather conditions into consideration. However, it is the responsibility of our healthcare delivery system to make healthcare accessible to these populations. Chronic management of patients is essentially futile if a patient is too far from care. Additionally, with the prevalence of TB amongst the First Nations people, one can conclude that the quality of care that these people are receiving is not on par with the rest of Canada. Health care accessibility is one of the factors that leads to this.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: With advances in technology, such as Tele-Health, it is possible to reach out to these people and provide consults when it is not possible to see them in person. In large part, these technologies are often under-utilized.

DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Arjun Ghuman, Ellen Toth, Chris Sarin, Dilini Vethanayagam

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