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Factors influencing the provision of care for Inuit in a mainstream residential addiction rehabilitation centre in Southern Canada, an instrumental case study into cultural safety

  • Lauzière, Julie1
  • Fletcher, Christopher2
  • Gaboury, Isabelle1
  • 1 Université de Sherbrooke, 150, place Charles-Le Moyne, Longueuil, QC, J4K 0A8, Canada , Longueuil (Canada)
  • 2 Université Laval, 1050, avenue de la Médecine, Quebec, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada , Quebec (Canada)
Published Article
Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Jun 29, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s13011-021-00387-6
Springer Nature
  • Research


BackgroundProvision of culturally safe care has been proposed to address health inequity, including in the areas of mental health and addiction. The factors that influence the provision of culturally safe care remain understudied. This paper explores the factors influencing the efforts of a mainstream residential addiction rehabilitation centre to provide culturally appropriate and quality care for Inuit.MethodsAn instrumental case study was conducted, informed by ethnographic and creative research methods. Over 700 h of participant observation were carried out between March 2018 and January 2020, in addition to qualitative semi-structured interviews (34 participants) and/or member-checking activities (17 participants) conducted with a total of 42 individuals: 20 Inuit residents, 18 clinical/specialized staff, and 4 clinical/administrative managers. An interpretive thematic analysis was performed to examine the factors that may influence the provision of culturally safe care for Inuit residents.ResultsTen categories of interrelated factors were identified and classified according to whether they relate to individual, programmatic, organizational, or systemic levels. These categories covered: (1) residents’ and staff’s life experiences; (2) personal and relational qualities and skills; (3) the model of care; (4) model flexibility; (5) ways in which relational aspects were considered; (6) sensitivity of the organization towards the population served; (7) human resources and professional development issues; (8) social climate; (9) political, relational, and funding climate; and (10) legislative, regulatory, and professional environment. While system-level factors generally had a negative effect on experiences of cultural safety, most factors at other levels had both favourable and unfavourable effects, depending on the context and dimensions examined.ConclusionsThe results offer insight into the interplay between the challenges and barriers that mainstream organizations face when working with Inuit, and the opportunities and enablers that organizations can build on to improve their services. This paper contributes to a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities to providing culturally safe addiction programs to Inuit within a complex intervention setting. It concludes by highlighting some areas for improvement to advance cultural safety in this context.

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