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.

    Learning Opportunities

    School for Change Agents ( QI)

    This Quality Improvement (QI) Learning Platform provides a range of online improvement courses, available to anyone working in health or social care. Helping to build quality improvement capability at all levels.

    IDEO Human Centered Design

    Human-centered design (HCD) is a creative approach to problem solving pioneered by the design firm IDEO. This is an intensive, hands-on learning experience that will challenge you to get into the real world to talk to people and test your ideas. You’ll be equipped and energized to apply the human-centered design process.

    Domestic Violence 

    3 modules of the Urgent Care Domestic Violence Screening & Intervention Policy Suite will increase the learner's awareness about domestic violence and the impact. Available on MLL or Absorb. (MLL Absorb)

    Indigenous People:

    eLearning course promotes sensitivity that reflects Alberta's First Nations, Inuit and Metis history, demographics, geographical diversity, and current issues.  It also introduces to the Indigenous Health Program's Cultural  Competency Framework and Guiding Principles for working with Indigenous patients, clients and families. (MLL)

    Trauma Informed Care 

    This course increases knowledge about psychological trauma and improves practice to be more trauma informed and patient centered. MLL

    Course Objectives - Participants will be able to:

    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;


    Explores 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)