Orienting Newcomers to the Health Care System: The Booklet
We have created a booklet to help newcomers learn more about the resources available in our health care system, along with how to access these resources. This can also be used by health care providers themselves and settlement agencies.
Orienting Newcomers to the Health Care System: The Story
As you may know, 80-90% of immigrants who come to BC eventually settle in the Fraser Health region. In the summer of 2015, a practicum student did some research on this population and uncovered a need in our health care system. There are many people arriving in the Fraser Health Authority who are unfamiliar with various aspects of Canadian life and culture, for instance: the economy, the language, getting a job, finding somewhere to live, and not insignificantly, the health care system. As you can imagine, not knowing how to navigate our health care system could have numerous negative consequences, such as misused resources, poor health outcomes, and perpetuated inequities.
One of the solutions identified for this problem was to create a booklet to help orient newcomers to Canada to our health care system. Working with individuals internal and external to Fraser Health, such a resource has been created. The result is a booklet directed towards newcomers (refugees and immigrants) to help them navigate the health care system in general, and Fraser Health services specifically. Although this booklet is written with newcomers in mind, it would be suitable for anyone. It contains an overview of the health care system, FAQs about health care in Canada, a quick look at some of the different services offered, and what you can do to find out more information.
Hopefully, you will be able to use this booklet in multiple ways - even more than what is written here! Here are a few thoughts we had for when this type of information would be useful:
For newcomers with lower health literacy, it would be a handy guide for health care providers to go through with their patients to answers common questions and show them how to access services.
For newcomers with higher health literacy, it can simply be given out as is and referenced by the individual as they need.
For community service providers, it can be used to give information about the different services offered through Fraser Health.
For everyone, it is a tool they can reference to find out more about what information and supports are available for the newcomer population.
We believe this booklet will be a great tool for providing accurate and relevant information about the health care system to newcomers.
Currently, the booklet is only available in English. Our next steps will be to translate and distribute it into the most relevant languages, so that it can be used by the people who need it most.