Support for English-speaking patients travelling to Quebec City for medical services

Support for English-speaking patients travelling to Quebec City for medical services

Patient Navigator Position Created To Support English-speaking patients Travelling to Quebec City for Medical Services

Quebec City, Quebec, March, 2018– A group of community-based organizations, under the umbrella of the Quebec Community Health and Social Services Foundation, has created a position for a “Patient Navigator” to support English-speaking patients who have to travel to Quebec City for medical services.

Patients from the Eastern regions of Quebec (Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Bas-St-Laurent, Côte-Nord) must often travel to Quebec City for some specialized medical services that are unavailable in their regions. Evidence had shown that this is a particularly difficult experience for English speakers, some of whom are not sufficiently bilingual to communicate effectively when it comes to medical vocabulary and when under stress.

In order to better document the situation, community-based action research was undertaken from 2015-2017, through surveys, focus group interviews as well as individual interviews. The results of this study pointed to the potential for a support person – a Patient Navigator – to help with the needs of these out-of-region patients, in terms of providing information, orientation, local transportation, emotional and psychological support, and more.

The objectives of the position are to:

  1. Decrease the risk of misunderstandings between health care staff and patients and their families
  2. Decrease the level of stress experienced by patients and caregivers (family escorts) by being a friendly face, developing a relationship based on trust, facilitating communication, and more
  3. Improve the experience for all those involved (patients, family, staff)

The role of the Patient Navigator is to:

  1. Provide information to patients and their loved ones, as well as health care providers, via website and toolkits.
  2. Assist with logistics such as arrival, orientation in the city and in the hospital, lodging (for patients and / or caregivers), visits, and possibly translation.
  3. Facilitate service provision, for example by ensuring good communication between health care providers and patients, by supporting the translation of documents, by providing cultural context for care providers, by flagging issues that arise in the different institutions, and more
  4. Providing emotional support as needed to help deal with loneliness, fear and other feelings raised by health care situations.
  5. Standing in for family escorts before they arrive so that vulnerable patients, and unilingual persons are not left alone / unaccompanied.

The Patient Navigator – as well as all patients, community organizations and health care providers – is supported with information available on the recently created website:, which contains information about services provided in each region where patients may be coming from, plus services available in several destination cities, including Quebec City (and Rimouski, Sept-Îles, Chicoutimi, and more). There are also hard copy booklets (Toolkits) for each region with the relevant information.

Many of our community members must travel to Quebec City for various medical reasons. The new Patient Navigator service is very important to the English-speaking community and their families in our region.  It provides one less worry for them knowing that there will be someone available who can meet them and provide various support services while they are away from home.”

Cathy Brown – Executive Director, CASA (Committee for Anglophone Social Action)

For more information, please communicate with the Quebec Community Health and Social Services Foundation,  or consult available information found at the following web site:  :

Jennifer Johnson, Executive Director


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