Arthritis liaison model of care: Step in the right direction for First Nations people with arthritis

July 5, 2021 (Vancouver) – A collaborative study has found a way to bridge the gap between First Nations people living with arthritis and clinicians to improve quality of care.

The arthritis liaison model of care was developed with a First Nations community to support culturally relevant, patient-centred care plans and then tested for one year.

“We codeveloped the liaison model of care with a First Nations community and found that it assisted First Nations people with arthritis in navigating health services to better take care of their needs and focus on their personal care plans,” said Dr. Cheryl Barnabe, a rheumatologist and senior scientist at Arthritis Research Canada. “Both the patients who participated in our study and the community health care providers found it to be valuable.”

Navigating the health system when you are diagnosed with a chronic disease can be confusing and challenging. Inequities in determinants of health related to the legacy of colonization also affect the health status of First Nations people diagnosed with arthritis.

Health care providers either consciously (through disregard for cultural values) or unconsciously (by failing to provide culturally relevant care) disempower patients. This can affect quality of care over time and undermine efforts to support effective disease management and wellbeing.

Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in First Nations communities and is often accompanied by other chronic diseases. Existing care models prioritize accessibility to specialty care for treatment, whereas patient-centred approaches support broader health goals.

First Nations populations have an increased prevalence, severity and undertreatment of arthritis.

Therefore, novel ways of delivering relevant care that address social, geographical and economic barriers are needed to improve outcomes among First Nations people living with different types of this disease.

Want to learn more about this important research? Click here to read the full research paper.


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Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees and staff whose world recognized research is creating a future where people living with arthritis are empowered to triumph over pain and disability. Arthritis Research Canada is conducting research across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec and is affiliated with five major universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Université Laval, and McGill University. Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at arthritis prevention, early diagnosis, new and better treatment, and improved quality of life.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Heather Caulder

Marketing and Communications Officer

604-207-4010 or hcaulder@arthritisresearch.ca


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