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Priority 3

What are best practices and support strategies for Indigenous parents, families and children and youth on the general paediatric inpatient unit (GPIU)? 

Concrete Wall

In Canada, Indigenous children and youth face significant health and social disparities compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts (e.g. higher rates of hospitalization, injury, suicide, obesity, infant mortality, various respiratory conditions, increased risk of contracting COVID-19). Studies suggest that these adverse health outcomes are a result of the multigenerational impacts of colonialism and structural violence, which have resulted in inequitable social policies in Canada that place additional challenges for Indigenous communities during health crises. 

Gaps in Evidence

Existing evidence recognizes that health-related disparities between Indigenous children and youth and their non-Indigenous counterparts prevail on an international scale. Despite these disparities, existing literature fails to identify the best methods of support for Indigenous children and youth, specifically in the context of GPIU care.  

Research dedicated towards identifying support strategies of Indigenous children, youth, and their families in paediatric care are needed to ensure this community may receive better, more culturally-informed and appropriate care. It is essential that this research be co-created and co-designed with Indigenous communities, in alignment with the First Nations principles of ownership, control, access, and possession - more commonly known as OCAP®. 

Directions for Future Research

Potential research questions and/or directions for future studies include, but are not limited to: 

  • Empowering Indigenous-led research, by having patient-oriented, participatory research studies conducted by Indigenous communities, for Indigenous communities  

  • Prioritizing Indigenous Ways of Knowing and a Two-Eyed Seeing Approach in exploring the hospitalization experience of Indigenous children and youth 

  • Exploring the impacts of prolonged hospitalization of Indigenous children and youth on their families (e.g. family separation, isolation, mental health challenges)

  • Exploring the impact of medical transport to a paediatric center on Indigenous children, youth and families

  • Investigating the average length of hospitalization for Indigenous children and youth, and facts that impact the length of stay

  • Exploring the lived experiences of Indigenous children, youth and their families who require hospitalization

  • Exploring the positive outcomes that socio-cultural navigators and interpreters may play during the admission and discharge process for Indigenous patients


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