What does financial strain have to do with health?

    • Income is one of the most important factors that influences health. 
    • Financial strain is economic pressure that can cause stress and harm health.
    • Health is influenced by many factors and income is one of the most important factors that influence health are called determinants of health, some of which include income, employment, social supports, education, and childhood experiences.
    • Anyone can experience difficulty making ends meet at any time.

    What does the project aim to do?

    The Reducing the Impact of Financial Strain (RIFS): A Population and Public Health Partnership with Primary Care to Reduce the Risk of Cancer and Chronic Disease project will strengthen connections between community members and organizations with primary care teams who will screen for, and respond to, financial concerns among patients and build capacity to address gaps.

    The project links communities with Primary Care Networks to collaboratively design local solutions to support patient and population health by addressing financial concerns in a sensitive, compassionate and sustainable way. Identifying and addressing health impacts of living with financial strain can be difficult for both health providers and communities. Primary care teams will be able to identify financial strain, support patients, and build connections with community health services and programs. Increased collaboration among service providers and communities is a key goal.

    Select primary care teams have implement clinical screening to identify patients with financial concerns using the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s clinical screening tool for primary care providers.

    • McLeod River Primary Care Network – AHS North Zone – Whitecourt
    • St. Albert Sturgeon Primary Care Network – AHS Edmonton Zone – Morinville
    •  Kalyna Country Primary Care Network – AHS Central Zone – Vermilion and Viking

    A framework has been co-designed with communities and healthcare that identifies key components of population health needs, to plan services and take action to improve population health.

    We invite other Primary Care Networks, clinics and communities to test and share what they have done to address financial strain and connect with participating teams.

    What can the health system do with communities to address financial strain right now?

    • Primary care teams can improve health by identifying those with financial strain and addressing patients’ financial concerns by listening to what is important, socially responsive care, thoughtful prescribing, and follow-up. 
    • Primary care can start conversations and use the Alberta College of Family Physicians screening tool tested in Alberta
    • Collaboration among the health and social service providers and communities is key. 
    • Alberta Healthy Communities Approach will be used to strengthen healthy economic, social, physical and policy environments that enhance health for everyone.
    • Communities and primary care practice teams build on strengths to support wellness by addressing financial concerns in a sensitive, compassionate and sustainable way.

    Who supports this project?

    Alberta Health granted funding to AHS through to March 2021 to work with communities and Primary Care Network practices to promote population health.

    Primary Care Networks that participated in the Patients Collaborating with Teams (PaCT) initiative, and who expressed interest in working with AHS Zones and community partners to better respond to the financial concerns of patients and communities are testing ways to address financial strain.

    Foundational Learning Series

     Co-design playbook

    If you are a healthcare, community or social services professional who wants to co-design an integrated care partnership, then this playbook is for you.

    School for Change Agents ( QI)

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    Helping to build quality improvement capability at all levels.

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    This is an intensive, hands-on learning experience that will challenge you to get out of your chair and out into the real world to talk to people and test your ideas. You’ll leave this experience equipped and energized to apply the human-centered design process to challenges across industries, sectors, and geographies to generate breakthrough ideas.

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    1. Describe what trauma informed care is;
    2. Identify your role in trauma informed care;
    3. Describe what trauma is;
    4. Identify the principles that guide trauma informed care;
    5. Reflect on what you could do to engage in TIC within your role;


    To explore the connection between adverse childhood experiences and health and well- being in later life and to consider how we can use a trauma informed lens to create a culture of safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment. 
    Course Objectives - Participants will:

    1. Discuss the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study;
    2. Identify the ways that ACEs affect health and contribute to physical and mental health disorders including addictions;
    3. Discuss Trauma Informed Care and identify trauma informed approaches that health providers can take to support individuals who are experiencing addiction and mental health disorders;
    4. Recognize ways that working with people who have experienced trauma can impact health providers and outline strategies to increase self-awareness, maintain self-care, and prevent vicarious trauma. (MLL)

    Public Health Nurse Home Visit Interactive Scenarios

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    Conduct a social history and recommend potential interventions using this additional resource developed by Dr. Ritika Goel.