Building Bridges

Continued from the March 2016 edition of Together We're Better

Building a bridge between Aboriginal families and the hospital is the role of Alberta Children's Hospital Aboriginal Liaison, Georgina Bird. She helps families feel comfortable while in Hospital, speaks with healthcare providers about Aboriginal cultural, spiritual beliefs and practices and can even arrange spiritual ceremonies (e.g. Sweetgrass Ceremony).

When an Aboriginal child is brought in to the Hospital, Georgina is put in touch with the family. There can be mistrust from some families (but not all) when dealing with their healthcare team. Emotions and prejudices can be heightened when a child is involved, comments Georgina. My role is to assess the situation and to help advocate for the child and his/her family. I become the bridge for the family and the Hospital staff.

With her background in social work and her upbringing in both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, Georgina is able to help families by providing her own insight, referring resources, and recommending facilities that families can access.

I believe it is important to partner with people to make change happen. My heart is with children and I'm passionate about helping families take care of their little ones and move forward in all aspects of their lives, states Georgina. With this in mind, Georgina helps families plan their child's discharge and what they will encounter when bringing their child home.

Georgina has been with ACH full time since December 2010. Her role is pivotal in patient and family centred care.

For more information visit the Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Services web page.